Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Department of Social Protection
162. To ask the Minister for Social Protection when the Labour Court recommendation regarding the pension arrangements for CE supervisors (details supplied) will be implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46201/14]
In July 2008, the Labour Court recommended that an agreed pension scheme should be introduced for Community Employment (CE) scheme supervisors and assistant supervisors (LCR19293) and that such a scheme should be adequately funded by FÁS, the agency responsible for CE at that time. The Department of Social Protection is now responsible for CE.
Notwithstanding the position of this Department in rejecting that liability for these costs should be met from public funds, this matter has been the subject of discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER) and the unions representing CE supervisors. The D/PER’s position, as outlined to the unions, is that companies contracted by the State to provide a service, including in the community sector, will have to manage their expenditure pressures, including labour and pension costs, from within existing funding levels.
Given the level of additional funding that would be required from this Department, the implementation of the claim is not considered sustainable in light of the current and on-going fiscal environment and the requirement to contain public expenditure. The costs of the introduction of any scheme are likely to be of the order of €3m per annum.
It should also be noted that this Department is not the employer of CE supervisors and such employees are not public servants but are employees of the sponsoring organisations. The responsibilities of the sponsoring organisations as employers and the individuals concerned as employees must also be recognised when considering pension provision arrangements.
Employers (including CE Sponsoring Organisations) are legally obliged to offer access to at least one Standard Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) under the Pension (Amendment) Act 2002. All CE sponsoring organisations were informed of their responsibilities under this Act at that time.
It should also be noted that CE Supervisors may also qualify for the State Pension at 66 years of age. If they have accrued sufficient PRSI contributions (520 contributions @ full rate, equivalent to 10 years contributions) they will qualify for the State Pension (Contributory), which is not means-tested. In the event that there are insufficient contributions, the person will qualify for the State Pension (Non-Contributory), provided they satisfy the means test.