Self-employed to be quizzed over PRSI reforms

8th August 2016

Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar will today launch a survey of 20,000 self-employed professionals to gauge their willingness to pay higher Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI) in exchange for more State benefits.

Mr Varadkar brought a memorandum to Government in June, outlining his proposals for a PRSI system closer to models elsewhere in Europe; establishing a more direct link between paid contributions and State entitlements.

“There is plenty of evidence that self-employed people are not dissatisfied with the extent of the benefits they receive in return for paying PRSI,” said Varadkar.

“I want to find out what new benefits they would most like to receive, such as long-term illness, injury, jobseeker and dental treatment benefits, or whether they would prefer to maintain the status quo.

“The survey informs self-employed people which benefits are currently available to them, whether they consider them good value, and how much extra PRSI they would consider paying for access to greater benefits.”

Fine Gael senator, Ray Butler has also raised the issue of State entitlements for the self-employed in the Seanad.

Mr Butler said that despite paying PRSI at the same rate of four per cent, self-employed people have not benefitted from the same range of protections as PAYE employees.

“We are the only country in industrialised Europe that doesn’t have protection for these business people,” said Butler.

“We just simply can’t ignore this or leave the situation the way it is any longer, especially when we have seen so many lives of the self-employed destroyed during the Celtic Tiger crash.”

The types of self-employed professionals surveyed range from sole traders and partners to farmers, professionals and company directors.

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