Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (88, 89, 90)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

88. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he will take to ensure that companies that are awarded public works contracts do not employ persons on bogus self-employment contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9215/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

89. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will request the Office of Government Procurement to update its awarding criteria for public works contracts to require tendering companies to guarantee that persons will not be employed on bogus self-employment, zero hours or if-and-when contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9216/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

90. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the vetting process undertaken by the Office of Government Procurement as part of the public contract tendering processes to ensure that persons are not employed on bogus self-employment, zero hours or if-and-when contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9217/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 to 90, inclusive, together.

Public procurement is the acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by public bodies. National rules governing public procurement must comply with the relevant EU, WTO and national legal requirements and obligations. The aim of European and national rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.

In this regard, public procurement rules include provisions that allow Member States to require a contractor to comply with EU and National legislation on the protection of labour rights. As a consequence public procurement procedures require applicants to meet certain standards when applying for public contracts and applicants are required to make declarations in relation to their financial standing, their legal standing and in relation to payment of taxes and social contributions.

Contracting authorities may also require applicants for public contracts to declare that they have not breached their obligations in the fields of environmental, social and labour law established by Union law, national law, collective agreements or by the international environmental, social and labour law provisions listed in Annex X of 2014/24/EU.

These requirements are set out in the template documents used in tendering for goods and services which have been developed by the Office of Government Procurement in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

The management of a tendering process for a public contract is a matter for each contracting authority. It is the responsibility of each contracting authority to assess that tenderers comply with all the requirements of the process.

Public bodies are required to reject a tender where it can be established that it is abnormally low because it does not meet with the obligations imposed by environmental, social and labour law.

Once awarded, the conditions of the public works contracts require the contractor to certify compliance with employment law, to maintain records of all those employed on the site, regardless of whether they are employees of the contractor or their subcontractors, and the hours worked by them. Where requested, the contractor must also provide details of the payments made to those employed on the site. Where the contractor fails to comply with their obligations under the contract or employment law, deductions may be made from payments due under the contract until the situation is rectified.

It is important to note that employment law and its enforcement, in both public and private contracts, is a matter for the relevant State authorities, including the Workplace Relations Commission and the Departments of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Employment Affairs and Social Protection.