Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 665 No. 2

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  197.  Deputy Leo Varadkar  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   the breakdown of the number of enforcement actions carried out by her Department from 2000 to date in 2008 to the establishment of the National Employment Rights Authority in relation to employment regulation orders for the catering industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37401/08]

  198.  Deputy Leo Varadkar  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   the breakdown of the number of enforcement actions since the establishment of the National Employment Rights Authority in relation to employment regulation orders for the catering industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37402/08]

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Billy Kelleher): Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 and 198 together.

Table 1 sets out details of the number of inspections carried out since 2005 in the Catering Sector by the former Labour Inspectorate of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and, since 2007, by the National Employment Rights Authority’s Inspection Services. To date, no prosecutions have been initiated in the Catering Sector. A detailed breakdown of inspection activity by sector is not readily available for the years 2000 to 2004. However, Table 2 sets out the arrears recovered arising from employment rights inspections in the Catering Sector for the years 2002 to 2004. To illustrate the proportion of inspections in the Catering Industry in the context of the work undertaken by the Labour Inspectorate and NERA, Table 3 below sets out details of the total number of inspections, prosecutions initiated and arrears recovered across all sectors on an annual basis since 2001. Full details regarding inspection activity are not available for the year 2000.

The primary role of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) in the case of breaches of employment rights legislation is to seek compliance and rectification of any [360]breaches identified, including redress for the employees concerned and payment of any arrears due to those employees. It should be noted that in the majority of cases employers rectify breaches of employment law and pay underpayments of wages due to employees without recourse to prosecution. However, the National Employment Rights Authority reserves the right to initiate prosecutions in respect of breaches of certain employment legislation.

The significant increase in inspection activity in the Catering Sector in 2008 was as a result of NERA’s targeted campaign, which ran between 16 June and 17 August 2008, and focused on compliance with the Catering Employment Regulation Orders. It was also influenced by the increased number of Inspectors provided in accordance with commitments given under Towards 2016, the Social Partnership Agreement.

Table 1: Details of Employment Rights Inspections in the catering Sector

Year Inspections Cases in which Breaches were not Detected Cases in which Breaches were Detected Arrears Recovered
€s
2005 141 69 72 36,700
2006 529 183 346 429,985
2007 205 79 126 267,182
2008 to date 948 236 712 340,226*

Table 2: Arrears recovered arising from Employment Rights Inspections in the Catering Sector in the period 2002 to 2004

Year Arrears Recovered
€s
2002 30,890
2003 22,800
2004 56,885

Table 3: No. of Inspections, Prosecutions and Arrears Recovered arising from Employment Rights Inspections in period 2001 to 2008

Year Inspections Prosecutions Initiated Arrears Recovered
€s
2001 6,474 23 518,000
2002 8,323 25 354,000
2003 7,168 25 226,000
2004 5,160 54 486,000
2005 5,719 59 476,000
2006 15,855 62 1,400,000
2007 14,425 98 2,503,892
2008* 24,755 82 2,034,227


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