Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Ceisteanna (83)

Marian Harkin

Ceist:

141 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason the Government has failed to recognise and value women’s work (details supplied) in the context of equality. [6397/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

Under social welfare legislation, the social insurance status of spouses assisting in a farm or family business can vary according to particular circumstances. Social insurance cover is determined by the precise nature of the circumstances and not on gender grounds.

Spouses of either gender engaged in a business partnership are regarded as self employed individuals for social insurance purposes. They can establish an insurance record in their own right. Alternatively, where a family business is incorporated as a limited company, spouses of either gender involved in the business pay PRSI contributions either as employees or as self employed contributors depending on whether a contract of service exists. In other circumstances a person employed directly by his or her spouse does not pay the expected PRSI contributions under social welfare legislation.

The exceptions apply to men and women in family employments and recognise the practical difficulties in establishing a formal employment relationship in such circumstances. Legislation provides the scope necessary to allow parties to enter into formal arrangements for a contract of employment or self employment whereby PRSI contributions will be payable as outlined above.

Any person who wishes to seek a decision as to whether an employment or self employment is insurable for social insurance purposes can apply to my Department. Where a person is dissatisfied with the relevant decision, there is a right of appeal to the social welfare appeals office.