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Written Answers. - Regulations Governing Construction Workers.

Wednesday, 12 June 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 466 No. 7

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 151. Mr. M. Kitt Information on Michael P. Kitt Zoom on Michael P. Kitt  asked the Minister for Social Welfare Information on Prionsias De Rossa Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  the co-operation, if any, engaged in between the Dutch, German, Irish and United Kingdom authorities in respect of the question of construction workers engaged as employees or as self-employed workers, in particular in view of the loophole in European legislation, Regulation 1408/71; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12308/96]

[1925]Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): Information on Prionsias De Rossa Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa Article 51 of the EEC Treaty provides for the adoption of such measures in the field of social security as are necessary to provide freedom of movement for workers. The Treaty also provides for the right of EU nationals to become established and to provide services in any member state of the EU (and the European Economic Area arising out of the European Economic Area Agreement). In addition the Treaty of the European Union has as one of its objectives the abolition of obstacles between member states to the free movement of persons and services.

Arising out of Article 51 of the Treaty, Regulation (EEC) No. 1408/71 was adopted. It provides for co-ordination of social security schemes for employed and self-employed persons and members of their families moving within the European economic area. Under this Regulation an employed or self-employed person is generally subject to the social insurance system of the member state in which he is employed both for the payment of contributions and the payment of benefits.

Special rules apply to workers who are posted by their employer in one member state to work for a period of less than one year for him in another member state. Similar provisions also apply to persons who are normally self-employed who perform work, again for a period of less than one year, in the territory of another member state. Any extension of such periods of work in another member state beyond 12 months is subject to the agreement of the member state in which the person works. These special provisions do not apply to workers who emigrate to another EEA state to seek work on their own account. Such workers are subject to the social security legislation of the member state in which they work.

In line with the Treaty provisions and objectives guaranteeing free movement, [1926] these provisions of the EU social security regulations are designed to ensure that the social security rights of the workers concerned are protected during such temporary periods of work in another member state workers and that workers are subject only to the legislation of one member state at a given time. It would not be in the worker's interest if he or she had to switch between national social security systems for such short periods. It would impose a heavy bureaucratic burden on enterprises and the national administrations concerned.

Ongoing co-operation between member states takes place at both the European level and on a bilateral basis. At European level, the Administrative Commission on Social Security for Migrant Workers, which consists of representatives from each member state and is serviced and advised by the European Commission, deals with all administrative questions and questions of interpretation arising from the provisions of the EU social security regulations and works to develop co-operation between member states in relation to the application of the provisions of the regulations. My Department has met with representatives of competent institutions from both Germany and Holland in the recent past to discuss co-operation in relation to posted workers and other issues. There are regular contacts with the UK Department of Social Security.

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