New survey will ask self-employed people if they would consider paying for greater benefits
The Department of Social Protection is to ask 20,000 self-employed people whether they would be willing to pay higher social insurance in return for greater benefits.
Minister Leo Varadkar has already indicated that he plans to reform pay-related social insurance (PRSI) for the self-employed.
The survey announced today will gauge what new benefits workers would most like to receive from changes planned for future budgets.
"There is plenty of evidence that self-employed people are not satisfied with the extent of the benefits they receive in return for paying PRSI,” Mr Varadkar said in a statement.
"This issue has also been raised with me in the Seanad by Senator Ray Butler.
"I want to find out what new benefits they would most like to receive, such as long-term illness, injury, jobseekers and dental treatment benefits or whether they would prefer to maintain the status quo.
Mr Varadkar added that he intends to reform the system "along more European lines, in order to create a clearer link between PRSI contributions and the benefits received".
The survey will ask self-employed people which current benefits they consider good value and how much extra PRSI they would consider paying for access to greater benefits.
Those being surveyed include sole traders, partners, farmers, professionals and company directors, selected from a random sample in seven major sectors.
Self-employed people currently pay a PRSI contribution of 4% of their income but receive fewer benefits than employees.
The survey, which will be sent out next week, needs to be returned by August 31st.
Minister Varadkar said its results will guide him in the next stage of PRSI reforms.