Wednesday 18 October 2017

New laws allow builders to stop working when they are not paid

Tom Parlon
Tom Parlon
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

NEW laws that will strengthen income protection for construction workers were enacted by the Oireachtas today.

The Construction Contracts Bill – first introduced in the Seanad by Independent senator Feargal Quinn – will help protect construction-industry workers like carpenters, painters, plumbers and electricians who have difficulty getting paid for completed work.

The legislation gives subcontractors the right to suspend work when payment has been withheld and the right to clarification about when and how they will be paid.

"Bringing in laws that strengthen payment practices in the construction industry will improve crucial cashflow to those subcontractors working in the industry, thereby helping companies involved in this vital sector to survive and keep people in employment during these particularly challenging economic times," said Mr Quinn.

"Maintaining and growing employment in construction is crucial to our economic recovery. At the height of the boom, some 273,000 people were employed in the sector and now it has dropped to 96,000.

"The scale of the downturn in the economy and the difficulty in securing credit has left many subcontractors who are involved in the construction industry facing huge cashflow difficulties that are being compounded by the non-payment of debts."

Construction Industry Federation director general Tom Parlon (pictured) said: "We have been pressing to have a system put in place that provides easier access to payments for contractors who have carried out work.

"With contractors throughout the industry having experienced such hard times, we need to ensure that those problems are not exacerbated by payments being held up," he said.

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