Independent Alliance TD and Minister of State at the OPW, Seán Canney has said that reform of the social welfare system must ensure an equal playing field between self-employed and private and public sector workers.
‘The current two-tier system of PRSI contributions whereby the self-employed are getting less benefits must change. However, care must be taken that any new system put in place must result in parity of benefits between all workers.’
Deputy Canney was responding to reports that Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar’s plan to overhaul the welfare system would see farmers, builders, doctors and other workers pay extra in return for more benefits.
‘I have long supported the idea that this sector should be able to access full social welfare benefits. We saw during the recession how self-employed people were badly affected, where they were left high and dry by lack of support from the social welfare system.
‘Reform of the PRSI scheme for the self-employed is a key priority in the Programme for Government and was a key matter in the negotiations for the Independent Alliance. It is down to our insistence that the matter is now progressing,’ said Deputy Canney.
‘However, reform should be about creating a level playing field for both self-employed and PAYE workers – so that the same social welfare benefits are available for everyone,’ said Deputy Canney.
A major study of 20,000 self-employed workers is to take place in the coming weeks to see if there is support for reform ahead of the Budget in October.