Dáil debates

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Social Welfare Schemes

11:20 am

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. I understand the question seeks my view on whether the weekly payment rates for schemes such as the community employment, rural social and Tús schemes represent a fair and adequate incentive to a married person to participate in the schemes. My Department provides a range of social employment and training programmes that are targeted at long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market. These supports include the community employment, Tús and rural social schemes.  The rural social scheme provides local employment opportunities for low income farmers and fisherman. Deputy Ó Cuív is very familiar with the rural social and Tús schemes as he designed and introduced them as Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.  I commend him on that initiative as I am very aware of the benefits that these schemes bring to communities throughout Ireland, in particular rural communities.

 The aims of the community employment programme and the rural social and Tús schemes are to enhance the employability of disadvantaged and unemployed people by providing work experience and training opportunities for participants.  The payment rates for participants on these schemes are based on the underlying value of their social protection payment plus an additional payment of €22.50 per week, with a minimum payment to each participant of €225.50 per week.  In addition, a participant may be eligible for additional weekly payments in respect of any qualified dependent adult and for each dependent child, depending on the household composition and means.

Rural social scheme participants work 19.5 hours per week and the agreed hours are based on a farmer or fisher-friendly schedule.  This is to ensure that participation on the scheme does not adversely affect normal farming or fishing activity. 

Participating on employment support schemes such as the community employment and rural social schemes also provides participants with an opportunity to pursue additional employment outside of the 19.5 hours required of the schemes.  In the case of the rural social scheme in particular, it should be noted that scheme participants have other income from self-employment as farmers or fisherman.


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