Enforced Flexibility? Working in Ireland Today analyses the quality and quantity of jobs focusing on the hospitality, construction, financial services and ICT sectors.
Its key findings include that in the hospitality sector earnings are low because of the combination of poor hourly rates of pay with low and variable hours. In the Construction Sector there has been a dramatic growth in numbers of ‘bogus self-employed’ and in financial services short term and temporary employment has expanded with mobility now being imposed on many younger workers.
Co-author of the report, Dr Alicja Bobek, said: “Flexibility in terms of working hours and arrangements is something that workers have always valued, but what now happens is that some employers impose hours on employees that suit them and the demands of the business but that make things more difficult for workers.”
“Our research findings put the rhetoric of the government and the IDA about Ireland’s ‘skilled and flexible workforce’ in a very different light. It’s a flexibility that people have to have, not a flexibility that they want,” said report co-author Professor James Wickham.
He added that it was ironic that the Irish tax system seems now to facilitate bogus self-employment by allowing ‘employers’ to designate the recipients of contracts as self-employed with no consultation.
Wickham said: “In 2006 just under 25% of construction workers were self-employed, in 2015 it was 38% and many of them are what are termed ‘bogus self-employed’. They are like any other employee: they are working under someone else’s direction, they don’t have their own equipment and don’t supply materials, they certainly don’t employ anyone else. However, thanks to the Revenue’s Relevant Contracts Tax, they magically become their own bosses.”
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