Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Community Employment Schemes

Photo of Denise MitchellDenise Mitchell (Dublin Bay North, Sinn Fein)
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1284. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration has been given to allowing those who have reached the State pension age to stay involved in a community employment scheme beyond that age if they so wish; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6844/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.

The programme is delivered through independent CE Sponsoring Bodies that receive state funding from the Department to cover the cost of CE participant, supervisor and assistant supervisor remuneration.

Funding for CE employees is available until the person reaches the state pension age ( as provided for by Section 7 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011).  They may remain on CE until the working day before they reach the state pension age as follows: 

- 66 for those born before 1 January 1955;

- 67 for those born on or after 1 January 1955; and

- 68 for those born on or after 1 January 1961

CE participants, supervisors and assistant supervisors may apply for a State Pension on retirement from CE.  If they wish to continue to work after they reach pension age they may apply for positions that are not state funded or, they can apply to the scheme to work in a voluntary capacity.

As CE is a working age activation scheme, employees who continue to be funded through CE must be of working age.  As you will appreciate, if my Department continued to fund CE participants, supervisors or assistant supervisors after they have reached state pension age, it would significantly impact on the opportunities for those people who are still of working age and would undermine the reputation of CE as an active labour market programme.

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