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10 Apr 08: Pensions Ombudsman gets tough with builders

 KENNY GETS COURT ORDER FOR COMPANY TO PRODUCE EMPLOYMENT RECORDS

In the first legal case of its kind taken by the Pensions Ombudsman, Mr. Paul Kenny, Galway Circuit Court has today given a company – 3D Restoration and Construction Limited, Curnacarton, Barnaderg, Co. Galway - 21 days to produce employment records to the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman. Enforcement proceedings were taken under Section 137 of the Pensions Act, 1990 as amended. Commenting on the court decision, Mr. Kenny said that his Office is there to ensure that people receive their proper pension entitlements. Where disputes arise, they are often resolved through mediation. “However, in certain cases employers refuse to provide information which I have requested and in these circumstances, I have no hesitation in resorting to the courts to obtain what I need. I would hope that this judgement will serve as a warning to those who contemplate ignoring requests from my Office. They will lose in court and, as in this case, will have to pay all of my legal costs”, he said. Mr. Kenny pointed out that unfortunately, it is the building industry which predominates in this type of issue. Employers in this sector are fully aware of their responsibilities to deduct and pay over pension contributions to the Construction Workers Pension Scheme in respect of their employees. “I simply will not accept that employers are unaware of these responsibilities. Furthermore I will not tolerate various ploys, such as trying to classify the business as an employment agency, to try and circumvent responsibilities. In such cases my responsibility is to ensure that employees are treated fairly and that they do not rue the day when pension age arrives and they do not have their full entitlements. It is shameful that certain employers in this sector actively set out now to deprive people of a significant pension benefit years down the line and my Office will use the full rigour of the law to ensure that they do not succeed”, he said. Ends
10 th April, 2008
For further information, contact Mr. Paul Kenny, Ombudsman, at (01) 6471650 or see www.pensionsombudsman.ie