Watch those Labour Laws
Make sure you meet employer responsibilities
The rules and regulations governing the employment of casual labour have changed greatly over the past number of years. Not so long ago it was common practice for cash payments to be made and the tax paid at the end of the year.
Now, there is a dedicated inspection unit called the National Employment Rights Authority, whose sole function is to ensure employees are getting all their rights. If you don't meet all the criteria as an employer, you are exposing yourself to serious penalties.
This week, we have the first in a two-part series on what your responsibilities are if you have employees on your farm.
The first thing that a farmer hiring casual labour or long- term employees must do is register with the Revenue Commissioners as an employer. Then tax credit certificates must be obtained for all employees. In the case of non-Irish nationals who have never worked here before, you won't be allowed to do this until you've secured a Personal Public Service (PPS) number for them. That will involve a trip to your local Department of Social Protection office.
There is a raft of rules that govern how you treat your employees. These do not apply only where the worker is hired as a self-employed contractor. In such instances the person hired would be required to register for tax with Revenue as a self-employed person and return the income earned on his/her tax returns.
While the following list is not exhaustive and the person's status must be determined on a case-by-case basis, the typical things that the Revenue or Employment Regulator would look for include whether:
- The person works set hours;
- The person has a contract of employment;
- The person is entitled to sick pay, holiday pay, etc;
- The person supplies his/her own tools and equipment; and
- The person can hire somebody else to perform his/her duties.
Registration as an Employer
As an employer, you are required to register with Revenue and account for Irish PAYE tax, PRSI and the new Universal Social Charge (USC) on your employees' income.