Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 06 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Employment Rights.
Mr. Wall Mr. Wall
Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his views on recent reports of film production companies here paying employees below minimum wage rates; if he is taking steps to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5554/07]
Mr. Killeen Mr. Killeen
Mr. Killeen: The National Minimum Wage Act 2000 requires that an employer must pay the appropriate minimum hourly rate of pay. In this regard, the Deputy will be aware that under the provisions of the Act the statutory minimum rate of pay payable to an experienced adult worker was increased to €8.30 per hour with effect from 1 January, 2007. This rate will be further increased to €8.65 per hour with effect from 1 July, 2007.
In the past year the Labour Inspectorate undertook a number of targeted campaigns, including a campaign, which focused on National Minimum Wage compliance. I can assure the Deputy that the inspection of compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 and with other statutory instruments and agreements  which provide for minimum rates of pay is a priority objective within the Labour Inspectorate.
The primary objective of the Labour Inspectorate in cases where breaches of employment rights legislation have been detected is to seek redress for the individual or individuals concerned in terms of ensuring immediate compliance and rectification of any such breaches and, where these breaches have resulted in a financial loss to workers, to effect payment of any arrears due. In this regard almost €1.5 million in arrears was recovered in 2006 from employers arising from National Minimum Wage and other statutory minimum wage inspections by the Labour Inspectorate. The Labour Inspectorate will also initiate prosecutions, where appropriate, in cases of failure to effect compliance or rectify breaches detected.
In relation to the film production sector, I understand that Deputy Ó Snodaigh, during the course of the recent debate on the Irish Film Board (Amendment) Bill, made a statement to the effect that a post production company in Dublin was paying employees less that the statutory minimum provided for under the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000. While no formal complaint has been received by the Labour Inspectorate, I have asked the Inspectorate to contact Deputy Ó Snodaigh with a view to seeking further information in relation to these allegations.
I urge anyone who has evidence of the mistreatment of workers to furnish all the relevant details and any related materials to the Inspectorate with a view to pursuing the matter.
The Deputy should be aware that Rights Commissioners of the Labour Relations Commission — a body independent of the Department — also investigate complaints of breaches of the National Minimum Wage Act 2000.
Dáil Éireann 633 Written Answers. Employment Rights.