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02/14/2018 12:00:00 AM


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Collins, Michael

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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Second Stage

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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage
Bills\Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage

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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Senator


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Deputy Michael Collins

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Deputy Michael Collins

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Michael Collins

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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the opportunity to contribute on this motion. The Bill is important legislation that is intended to protect workers who are currently on zero-hour contracts. More often than not, these contracts are enforced by our larger employers. People are expected to work eight hours across a number of days each week. I do not want to paint all employers with the one brush. Many small business owners are struggling at this time. I speak to them on a daily basis. They are paying insurance, PRSI and rates. A large number are on the edge between continuing trading and going under. One employer whom I met last week in my constituency clinic at one time employed 40 staff. He is now down to ten staff because of the overheads. Rules and regulations that come into play when trying to employ someone affect most small employers, who comprise the majority of employers in my constituency of Cork South-West.
Statement after statement from the Government showing unemployment rates declining are not reflective of the real Ireland. Of the 80,000 in Turas Nua, 60,000 will be back on welfare when their contracts are up. Many of those who have been chased into employment are paid the minimum wage, which is a major burden on many young families. I met a couple two weeks ago, each of whom was on the minimum wage earning approximately €370 per week, paying for child care and paying for cars to get to and from work. This couple is now contemplating which one of them will leave work to stay at home to rear the family because they are not paid enough to afford to keep two cars on the road or to pay for child care. They are struggling. The Government is reducing the incentive for people to get up and get out to work each day. It did little to nothing in the last budget to encourage people to seek work as opposed to signing on to the dole.
This Bill seeks to protect the employee. However, it is the larger firms that enforce these precarious working contracts. We need to protect employees from this type of work. They see no certainty in what wages they will take home at the end of the week. We have a responsibility as legislators to protect our citizens, including business people who have started up SMEs and employ people on a small scale as well as those who are employed under precarious contracts and are being exploited as workers. For that reason, I support the Bill, but I would not support any more regulations or bureaucracy being forced upon our already struggling SME owners.