How we Live and Work

Dominic’s Policy Proposals

  • A “Living Wage” of €11.90 per hour.
  • End the Gender Pay Gap and fight all types of discrimination against women in their working life.
  • Better work/life balance for all, including flexible work arrangements and support measures such as a Work/Life Balance Directive.
  • I will campaign to tackle precarious employment in all its forms, ie; rolling temporary contracts, gig economy practices and bogus self-employment.
  • Establish a strong and effective European Labour Authority, with the powers to support working people.
  • Full collective Bargaining and the Right to be represented by a Trade Union.

LIVING WAGE OF €11.90 PER HOUR

Low paid workers have seen a rise in their take home pay in recent years. Based on the most recent data available one in twenty workers are on the minimum wage or up to 70,000 employees. Of these, 73% are women and over half (52.4%) are under 30 years of age. Despite the progress, too many working people are still struggling to make ends meet and pay for ordinary and everyday expenses due to the high cost of living in Ireland.

The Living Wage Technical Group has undertaken detailed analysis of the income required to enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable standard of living. I support their proposal to introduce a Living Wage of €11.90 per hour.

GENDER PAY EQUALITY

Women are still underpaid for the work they do and are underrepresented in leadership and management roles compared to their male counterparts. We have made progress with regard to ending gender discrimination in the workplace, but we still have a long way to go.

  • Women are paid 13.9% less per hour (average hourly pay) than men
    • That figure equates to women in full time employment working for free for about one month of every year
    • Despite progress towards greater gender equality in Ireland in recent years, the rate of change on the pay gap has become stagnant - over the past 11 years, the gender pay gap has narrowed by only four percentage points. At present rates, it would take up to 170 years before it fully closes

To address the Gender Pay Gap, we need to address some of the underlying causes, some of which are:

  • Women make up just 33% of Managers, Directors and Senior Officials
  • Women spend 130% more time on unpaid work at home
  • 32% of women work part time compared to 8% of men

Gender Pay Equality - I will work for:

  • A legally binding EU Gender Equality Strategy which will require Member States including Ireland to commit to and achieve measures and actions to end the Gender Pay Gap
  • The passage of the Labour Party’s Gender Pay Information Bill, spearheaded by my colleague Senator Ivana Bacik, which if passed would require employers to publish information demonstrating any gender pay gap that exists in their organisation. Based on legislation introduced in other EU countries, it would require companies with 50 employees or more to report regularly on any gender pay gap in the workplace.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Workplaces are changing to suit how our changing economy. Changed consumer behaviour, including the evolving ‘gig economy’ has resulted in massive shifts in how we work today. But changing work practices are often designed to suit the business models of large corporations, not working people and families.

The responsibility for care still falls too heavily on women, while many men who would like to make a greater contribution to family life and care are prevented from doing so by outdated laws and policies. As a result, across the European Union, women remain underpaid and are considerably underrepresented in employment and in leadership and management roles. The overall employment rate of women is still 11.5% lower than that of men. Caring responsibilities are one of the key reasons why women are not able to take up paid employment. 31% of women cannot work outside the home because of caring duties compared to just 4.5% of men.

Work/Life Balance - I will campaign for:

  • The right in law for all working parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements, such as;
    • reduced working hours
    • flexible working hours
    • flexibility on the place of work
  • The implementation of a Directive on Work/Life Balance that supports working parents and carers to contribute both at home and at work, and call for it to ensure minimum benchmarks for parental, paternity and carer's leave, and the right to request flexible working arrangements.

  • An increase in Paternity Leave from 2 to 4 weeks
  • Paternity Benefit to be extended from 2 to 4 weeks for eligible recipients
  • 4 weeks Parental Benefit which can be taken in full or in stages in the first 2 years of a child’s life.
  • I will campaign for an entitlement of 3 days paid carers leave per year for all employees
  •  will campaign to change the law to allow workers take carers leave and apply for carers benefit for periods of less than 13 weeks

PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT

Our ever-changing workplaces is leading to the increase in ‘precarious employment’. This work is poor quality, includes insecure work, low paid work and work with no benefits such as health care and pensions. People in precarious employment are more likely to work in unsafe and unhealthy workplaces, and with no access to training opportunities. Precarious work is a scourge on our economy and society, and is doing untold damage to working people and families.

Precarious Employment - I will campaign for:

  • Full implementation of the EU Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions, so working people enjoy equal rights and protections, particularly those who are vulnerable to precarious employment and the emergence of the gig economy and the insecurities involved with platform work in the digital economy
  • An EU-wide definition of “work” and “worker” to help underpin legal protections for people involved in new forms of precarious work and other paid activity in the gig economy
  • Common EU rules that all workers should have written contracts in a language they understand, and fair salaries, with tough restrictions on zero-hours contracts and bogus self-employment
  • A European social floor of rights, including the right to retraining if a job is replaced by technology
  • A review of European Law to determine its adequacy in relation to the replacement of paid employment with robots, Artificial 314 Intelligence (AI) and automation

EUROPEAN LABOUR AUTHORITY (ELA)

In September 2017, the European Commission announced the establishment of a European Labour Authority (ELA). The Authority should be up and running later this year and reach its full operational capacity by 2023. The ELA will be a permanent structure, made up of approximately 140 staff members and have an annual budget of approximately €50m. The Authority should be up and running in 2019 and reach its full operational capacity by 2023.

The primary role of the ELA is to ensure that EU rules on labour mobility be enforced in a fair, simple and effective way. The ELA has a vital role to play in preventing social dumping and ensure fair labour mobility.

Role of the ELA

  • Facilitate access for individuals and employers to information on their rights and obligations as well as to relevant services.
  • Support cooperation between EU countries in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating joint inspections.
  • Mediate and facilitate a solution in cases of cross-border disputes between national authorities or labour market disruptions.

The establishment of the ELA is long overdue, as there are now 17m workers working abroad compared to 9m million just a decade ago. A million and a half people commute across borders every day to work. Two million are posted to work in other Member States. In the absence of adequate protections, many of these workers have been open to abuse.

European Labour Authority - I will campaign for:

  • A strong, independent, well-funded and effective European Labour Authority to support fair labour mobility and prevent social dumping
  • The European Labour Authority to be located in Ireland.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

The right to join a union and bargain collectively for fair pay and fair conditions of employment is critical to working people. The European Convention on Human Rights specifies trade union membership as an important political right essential to democracy:

The Labour Party has a proud tradition of working in partnership with Irish Trade Unions to protect this right, and if elected I will continue to support the right of workers to organise in their workplaces.