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Social Welfare Inspections

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 24 February 2021

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Ceisteanna (570)

Claire Kerrane


570. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of on-site inspections by social welfare inspectors at construction sites in 2018, 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021; the information sought during such inspections; if compliance with sectoral employment orders is checked; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9742/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The information sought by the Deputy regarding the number of on-site inspections by Social Welfare Inspectors is not retained specifically in relation to the construction sector. However I am happy to supply the Deputy with a summary of all employer investigations completed for the years in question.

Employer investigations carried out by all Social Welfare Inspectors


Number of investigations

Savings to the Dept










2021 to end Jan



Social Welfare inspectors, in particular those in the Special Investigation Unit including those assigned to the Joint Investigation Unit, carry out investigations in the construction and other sectors as part of on-going compliance operations. These investigations can include site visits or visits to offices or tax agents representing employers where inspections involving an examination of PRSI records in relation to multiple employees may be undertaken, and enquiries/visits where an individual employee’s record may be checked. An inspector may also seek to establish that the necessary employment records are being kept or if Social Welfare scheme payments are being appropriately made.

In some instances, investigations are undertaken jointly with other State agencies such as the Revenue Commissioners and the Workplace Relations Commission. This activity facilitates an approach whereby compliance issues across agencies can be looked at and ensures that appropriate sharing of information takes place. The works involves the examination of contractors and employees engaged on sites and premises where employment is taking place.

In conducting employer inspections, the role of the Social Welfare inspector is primarily in relation to an employer’s compliance under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act i.e. that the correct PPSN of employees, the correct employer number, the correct number of weeks worked, the correct PRSI class and the correct earnings are recorded. As such, an inspector can seek any information required in order to determine such compliance.

The inspector may also make enquiries with regard to payments made under Social Welfare schemes such as ensuring that employees are not concurrently working and claiming.

It is not the role of my Department to check for compliance with Sectoral Employment Orders. This falls to the Workplace Relations Commission. However, some employer inspections carried out by my inspectors are joint agency inspections and may involve inspectors from the Workplace Relations Commission.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.