Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ceisteanna (653)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

653. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of investigations undertaken by the scope section that involved contractors and multinational companies regarding employment status and-or bogus self-employment in the past five years to date; the number of these investigations that were closed and determinations made and or sanctions imposed; the number that remain open and or under appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37617/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Scope Section of my Department undertakes investigations on foot of requests from a variety of sources, for example, employees, employers or Social Welfare Inspectors.  These investigations cover a variety of situations, for example, modified classes of PRSI for civil and public servants, family employments or the insurability of Directors.

Of all the cases referred to Scope, those involving the mis-classification of an employee as being self-employed – what we call ‘false self-employment’ (FSE) – constitute a small proportion.  In this regard, a breakdown of cases is not available pre-2018 as the historic database in use in Scope did not allow this categorisation.  However, the following statistics are available:

  Number of all cases referred for Scope decision

Year

All cases referred

All cases decisions made

Employed/self-employed

Decisions made

2015

1,220

1,064

Not available

2016

1,446

1,027

Not available

2017

1,473

1,065

Not available

2018

2,067

1,339

73

2019 (to end May)

879

575

59

The following statistics show the number of decisions made involving FSE situations:

Number of cases in sub-category of Employed/Self-Employed (Decision Made)

Decisions made   

2018  

2019 (to end May)  

Total decisions made

73

59 

I am advised that records are not categorised on the basis of "contractors and multinational companies" as the Deputy asks, and so the number of such specific cases is not available.

It is important to note that these cases do not always involve a deliberately fraudulent mis-classification of a worker as self-employed.  Sometimes it happens that both employer and employee are genuinely mistaken in their approach and are happy to correct the position once the Department’s officials make a determination.

I am advised that cases are not recorded at present in a format that allows statistics to be provided on the number of such cases appealed, as a separate category.  However, I can confirm that there are currently 11 cases of ‘employed/self-employed’ Scope cases currently on appeal with the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.