Wednesday, 29 July 2020
Social Welfare (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Heather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
The greatest number of requests I have had since becoming Minister relate to community employment schemes. There are always cases where people want to stay on community employment schemes and I understand the reasons. If everybody stayed on them, however, there would be no space for new people. The scheme is meant to allow people to get back to the workforce and into full employment. Having said that, I know some people are doing absolutely wonderful and valuable work through the scheme in communities right across the country. We changed the scheme so there are now certain exceptions applying to people over 55 and 62. It is possible the people referred to by the Senator are not in the right category.I will look at the matter and we will be looking at the community employment schemes. I take the Senator's point that it is hard to get people to go on community employment schemes but unfortunately, as we come out of Covid, that may no longer be the case. It is about getting the balance right on the schemes. I will continue to work on this matter.