I understand that the Deputy’s question relates to concerns regarding bogus self-employment in the construction sector.
Ireland has a well resourced and proactive labour inspectorate, which now forms part of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Inspections are undertaken on the basis of risk analysis which identifies certain sectors, and as a result of complaints received.
Where the WRC inspection service (formerly NERA) receive complaints in relation to bogus self-employment or bogus sub-contracting, they are forwarded to the Revenue Commissioners and/or the Department of Social Protection (Scope Section) for investigation either solely by the recipient, or jointly with the Workplace Relations Commission. Complaints regarding the abuse of the sub-contracting or the Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) system are followed up by the Revenue Commissioners.
In most cases it will be clear whether an individual is employed or self-employed. Where there is doubt in relation to the employment status of an individual the relevant Departments and Agencies will have regard to the Code of Practice for Determining Employment or Self-Employment Status of Individuals. This Code was drawn up and agreed in 2007 by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Department of Social and Family Affairs, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Irish Business and Employers Federation.
The Workplace Relations Commission has statutory authority to share information with both the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection. Such information sharing takes place regularly between the Workplace Relations Commission inspectors and their counterparts in these bodies. In cases of mutual interest, joint operations and/or inspections may also be carried out. This exchange and sharing of information, together with the joint operations, is a valuable element of the inspection process and contributes to uncovering non-compliance in the areas covered by the relevant bodies.
In the course of 2014 a total of 353 joint investigations took place with the Revenue Commissioners and /or the Department of Social Protection. These inspections may involve all or a combination of the three parties and in some instances may also involve the Gardaí.
The Workplace Relations Commission provides information on employment, equality & industrial relations legislation, through the Workplace Relations Customer Service and Information Unit. It can be contacted at Lo-call:1890 80 80 90 or via its website www.workplacerelations.ie.