SEASONAL workers should not be considered self-employed hitting their rights, a Donegal TD has said.
Deputy Thomas Pringle made the call as part of his submission made today on the Study into Zero Hour contracts which found a prevalence of If and When contracts among workers in Ireland.
“In my submission to the Minister for Jobs, I made the point that seasonal workers should have been included in the remit of the report. They were excluded under the assumption that they don’t fit under the If and When category.
“Seasonal workers, like fish factory workers in Donegal, do fit under the If and When label but might be classified under an outdated notion of what seasonal work actually means. Seasonal work patterns have changed dramatically over the past number of years but little research has been done on this to understand the consequences of changing work dynamics.
“Globally, work patterns are emerging that are blurring the line between employer and employee and workers are finding it increasingly difficult to defend their rights or gain access to social protection, as is the case with a number of part-time farmers and seasonal workers I work with in Donegal.
“Because a number of workers including seasonal workers are incorrectly classified as self-employed, they find themselves refused certain payments and having to appeal the social welfare system. I’ve personally worked on 17 different cases where this has happened.
“The If and When label is also too restrictive. The report claims these workers are not contractually available to work whereas I dispute this notion. Albeit informally, workers like fish factory workers are often obliged to make themselves available for work or they risk a reduction in hours or even termination of employment, even if no written contract exists.
“The report was too restrictive in scope, not specific in the definition of If and When contracts and excluded seasonal workers as a result. I would urge the Minister to consider a separate study into all atypical work patterns across the country,” concludes Pringle.