February 20, 2021
Outlawing bogus self-employment must be a priority – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said yesterday’s British Supreme Court ruling, which found that Uber drivers should be classed as workers, not independent contractors, was a historic win for workers’ rights that could have far reaching implications, here and elsewhere, for workers in the gig economy.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The practice of bogus self-employment has been rampant across numerous sectors for some time now. It is particularly prevalent in construction, IT, universities, the gig economy, and many more. This abhorrent practice creates big winners and even bigger losers.

“For an employer who classifies a worker who is actually an employee as self-employed, or an independent contractor, there is no Employer PRSI to pay, no pension contributions to make, no sick, paternity or maternity leave to pay, no redundancy payments, no annual leave or public holiday pay.

“For a worker misclassified as self-employed this means less entitlement to social welfare supports if and when they need them. It also means no access to an occupational pension, no paid sick, paternity or maternity leave, no redundancy pay, no fixed breaks or rest periods, no paid annual leave or pubic holidays.

“The winner is the fraudulent employer who dodges their responsibilities and bypasses employment law.

“The losers are those that pay the price for the actions of their employer – the workers. For them it means lower wages, no job security, no protection from unfair dismissal, no cover for their work tools, be it a Makita drill or a bicycle. 

“The other big loser is the State, who suffers huge losses in PRSI contributions meaning serious consequences for the public finances and the Exchequer.

“The British Supreme Court decision yesterday, which found that Uber drivers should be classed as workers, not independent contractors, was a historic win for workers’ rights that could have far reaching implications, here and elsewhere, for workers in the gig economy.

“On Thursday I raised this very issue in the Dáil, and in particular the situation for delivery riders in the so called gig economy, who have worked right through the pandemic, who are often victims of bogus self-employment.  

“In the coming weeks Sinn Féin will be bringing forward legislation to outlaw this practice, which seeks to stand up for workers and ban this damaging practice that is rampant across the construction sector, IT, universities, the gig economy, and many more.” 

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