Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today says it is appalled at the decision to make it a criminal offence for employers who incorrectly designate an employee as self-employed.
Ibec is manifestly opposed to false self-employment as it creates an unfair competitive advantage over the majority of compliant businesses which observe existing tax and employment rights legislation. However, the amendment to the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which was passed in the Dáil last night is yet another sign of the dysfunction that our current political structure can demonstrate.
This legislation is unnecessary as there are already measures in place to address such abuses by employers. The wording of the amendment fails to take account of the complexities often associated with commercial agreements and is tantamount to a blanket ban on the use of independent contractors. Even where such arrangements are entirely genuine and may be insisted upon by the individual contractors, the possibility of a jail sentence means businesses are unlikely to take the risk of using them.
The continuous chipping away at the competitiveness of our business model by poorly crafted legislation must be tackled. Evidence based regulatory impact assessments are at a very minimum what both society and business should expect.
Commenting on this development, Rhona Murphy, Ibec Head of Employment Law Services said: "The continuation of the current political structure presents irreversible risks to business unless political parties take a more responsible approach to creating legislation. This latest amendment is another exercise in populist politics, with political parties more concerned about optics than sensible, balanced regulation. While we acknowledge instances of poor employment practices, the crippling burden the legislation in this format would impose is disproportionate.”