Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
556. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to honour the LRC recommendations in relation to pension rights for those in community employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49864/19]
The Community Employment (CE) programme is designed to enhance employability by providing work experience and training opportunities for people within their communities.
The programme is operated by CE Sponsors, who are typically voluntary and community organisations wishing to benefit the local community. These CE Sponsoring organisations contract, as independent employers, with my Department on an annual basis, to provide job seekers and other vulnerable groups with good quality work experience and training qualifications within their communities to support their progression into employment.
Under the annual agreement my Department funds the employment of CE participants, and provides funding towards training, material and supervisory costs. Grant aid is provided by my Department to cover these costs on a per capita basis. The agreement clearly establishes the role of the CE Sponsor as an independent contractor, responsible for all persons recruited by them.
I am very aware of the valuable and dedicated service that Community Employment (CE) sponsor organisations provide in running CE Schemes across the country. CE supervisors, as employees of these organisations, are an integral part of that good work. However, CE supervisors are not employed by my Department, nor are they public servants.
My Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following that 2008 Labour Court Recommendation and all parties have agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process has completed. I expect an outcome shortly.