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Information Notice - Employer Identification Inquiry

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This inquiry is conducted under the Statistics (Employer Identification Inquiry) Order 2017, Number 497.

To produce annual Structure of Earnings Statistics for both national purposes and to meet EU regulations the CSO makes use of existing administrative data sources.  These statistics were previously based on a large-scale survey of employers, the National Employment Survey (NES).

In January 2016 the CSO wrote to employers requesting Personal Public Service Numbers (PPS Numbers) for their employees for the years 2012-2014. We appreciate the efforts of those enterprises who responded to this request which allowed us compile statistics for 2012-2014. We are now compiling the corresponding statistics for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

What will the data be used for?

The PPS Numbers will only be used to link existing administrative data sources to produce Structure of Earnings Statistics. This will eliminate the need for employers to complete a detailed Structure of Earnings Survey for these years.

As a result, aggregated information on the relationships between the level of remuneration and individual characteristics of employees (sex, age, occupation, length of service, highest educational level attained, etc.) and those of their employer (economic activity, size and location of the enterprise) will be produced.

This information helps inform the development and review of public policy on areas such as Public/Private Sector pay, Gender Pay Gap, Low pay/Minimum wages.

Is it compulsory for enterprises to provide this data to the CSO?

Yes, Statistics (Employer Identification Inquiry) Order 2017, Number 497 sets out the requirement for certain undertakings (enterprises) to provide this information.

What about the burden on employers?

Providing the CSO with the PPS Numbers for employees will eliminate the burden on employers to complete a detailed Structure of Earnings survey for these years.

For a number of years up to 2009 the CSO conducted a large scale survey of businesses (National Employment Survey (NES)) to collect data required to produce these statistics. This survey put a significant burden on respondents.

An approach was developed to produce Structure of Earnings Statistics making use of existing administrative data. These administrative sources did not in all cases support the assignment of employees to the correct Economic Sector, which is a fundamental requirement for Structure of Earnings Statistics. The data requested in this survey allows us to correctly allocate employees into the appropriate economic sectors.

Is the CSO allowed to request PPS Numbers of Employees?

Yes. This inquiry is conducted under the Statistics (Employer Identification Inquiry) Order 2017, Number 497.

The CSO is a specified body as set out on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protections’ Register of Users1 for the PPS Number.

The purpose of processing the information is the collection, compilation, extraction and dissemination for official statistics in line with the Statistics Act 1993 and Council Regulation 223/2009 on European Statistics (as amended).

What about data protection?

The CSO’s Secure Deposit Box (SDB) provides a secure link to the CSO for the electronic transmission of the PPS Numbers to the CSO.

The CSO is on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protections’ Register of Users for the PPS Number and the Information you provide will be treated as strictly confidential in accordance with Section 33 of the Statistics Act 1993 and with EU law. It will be used for statistical purposes only and will not be disclosed to any other Government Department or body. 

The CSO has measures in place to ensure the PPS number is securely kept and that it is only used in connection with the purpose for which it was collected, i.e. Statistical purposes in accordance with the Statistics Act, 1993.  Strict data management and security policies are in place and the PPS Number is removed from datasets before statistical analysis is carried out. 

In line with CSO policies on data protection each PPS Number will be replaced by a random reference number (Personal Identifier Key) so that no individual can be identified by employees analysing the data.

The original PPS Number data provided will then be permanently deleted. 

The CSO does not provide the PPS number, or any other identifiable personal data, to any external body as this would be a breach of statistical legislation and would amount to a serious offence.  All data collected or obtained under the Statistics Act 1993 is strictly confidential, is accessible only to Officers of Statistics, and may be used only for exclusively statistical purposes.  All Officers of Statistics must sign a Declaration of Secrecy, as specified in the Act. 

For more information on Official Statistics and data protection legislation please visit our website.2

How to reply

If you have received a request from the CSO for this information, please enter the PPS Numbers into 3 separate yearly Excel files as described in the instructions provided by CSO with that request. The Excel files should be lodged to the CSO via the CSO’s Secure Deposit Box (SDB) by the 19th January 2018. The CSO’s SDB provides a secure link for the electronic transmission of data to the CSO.

Step by Step Instructions on using the SES Secure Deposit Box

If you require help with your username or password please feel free to contact the SES – Labour Market and Earnings Division by telephone at (021) 4535514 or by e-mail at

Thank you in advance for your ongoing co-operation. It is very much appreciated.

  • Orla Healy   (+353) 21 453 5514

  • Morgan O'Donnell   (+353) 21 453 5269

  • Email: