Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
253. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the situation will be examined in which participants in the Tús scheme who wish to continue employment through the scheme in their local communities are restricted from so doing after one year despite the fact that they can make a significant contribution to their respective communities that subsequently have difficulty replacing them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50633/19]
Tús commenced operation in 2011 as a response to the high level of unemployment and the large numbers on the Live Register. It is a community work placement initiative which aims to provide short-term work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year.
The duration of the Tús contract is a maximum of 12 months and this ensures that as many people as possible, who are unemployed for over 12 months, are able to benefit from the initiative. There are no circumstances whereby a participant can be allowed to remain on the scheme after they have completed their 12 month contract.
If a person is interested in pursuing a work placement with training and development opportunities, it is open to them to apply for a placement on a Community Employment (CE) scheme. CE participants between 21 and 55 years are entitled to one year on the programme. This can be extended by up to 2 more years if they are engaged in a recognised training or education award that is helping them progress towards employment. All CE participants age 55 and over can avail of 3 consecutive years on a CE scheme. The overall limit of participation on CE is 6 years from 1st January 2007 (7 years if on a disability payment).
Participants aged 62 and over are allowed to participate on a continuous basis up to the State Pension age on the CE Service Support Stream (SSS). A limited number of SSS places are available and these are subject to certain criteria.
The Department keeps all aspects of its activation programmes under review to ensure the best outcomes for participants and communities whilst also having regard to the, thankfully, much reduced number of people claiming jobseeker payments and the increasing number of job opportunities. At present, there are no plans to change the duration of the Tús placements.