Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Ceisteanna (47)

John Brady

Ceist:

47. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount recouped by her Department from money lost in PRSI through bogus self-employment practices being identified in the past five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Work is ongoing in my Department to tackle false self-employment across the economy. In that regard I am currently reallocating resources to this issue to understand, measure and quantify better the prevalence of false self-employment and obtain a sectoral analysis of its level of incidence.

My Department is already focussed on increasing the number of employer inspections it conducts nationwide. Based on experience from these inspections, and recognising that there is a particular challenge when dealing with large companies or companies with complex legal structures, I also established in August a dedicated team to work strategically in this area. This team has commenced its work, in parallel with other Inspectors across the country.

My officials work in cooperation with the inspectorates of the Workplace Relations Commission and Revenue Commissioners as necessary and strong liaisons have been established with those organisations to focus strategically on tackling false self-employment.

In addition to more rigorous policing of existing law, I intend to introduce a number of new legislative measures to further strengthen our powers. These measures include putting the 'Guidance on Determining Employment Status' – which is a revision of the former Code of Practice in this area – on a statutory footing. This, in addition to a new offence of misclassifying an employee as self-employed, will both be included in the Social Welfare Budget Bill, which I expect to be enacted by the end of the year.

I also will bring forward new provisions to address the potential victimisation of workers who seek a determination on their employment status. These latter provisions will likely mirror similar provisions I brought into law earlier this year via the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018. While the drafting of this legislation is complex, its timely introduction to the Oireachtas remains a priority.

I am advised that it is not possible to provide figures on money recouped on the sole basis of false self-employment cases alone. However, as an indication of the level of work going on in relation to PRSI inspections generally, a total of 1,931 employer inspections have been carried out across the country by my Inspectors this year up to the end of last month. However, savings achieved so far this year from PRSI inspections carried out comes to a total of €1.184m.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.