Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Community Employment Schemes
1000. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding a pension scheme for community employment scheme supervisors following the 2008 Labour Court ruling in respect of same; the position regarding the report on a pension scheme for scheme supervisors due to be published by her Department; the timeline for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11003/20]
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.
CE sponsor organisations provide a valuable and dedicated service in running CE Schemes all over the country. CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors, as employees of these organisations, are an integral part of that good work.
As you are aware, CE supervisors and assistant supervisors have been seeking for several years, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme.
Last year my officials and I met with the unions to establish a process for the related discussions and to agree on the terms of reference. During the meetings that followed, the parties undertook a detailed analysis of a number of potential solutions tabled, mindful of the broader environment in which any solution found would need to operate.
Related discussions have also been taken place between officials from my Department and their counterparts in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and I have asked that my officials continue these discussions.
Further planned discussions between my Department officials and the Unions did not take place in light of the ongoing Covid-19 emergency. However, my officials will continue these discussions as normal business resumes.
1001. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the return to work rules for community employment scheme workers; if the lack of childcare for workers can prevent them returning; her views on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11038/20]
During the current Covid-19 emergency, my Department continued to provide the necessary funding for CE schemes while also introducing a number of contingency measures, including the extension of existing CE participant contracts for the duration of the emergency.
Recruitment of new CE participants ceased temporarily during the emergency period while CE many schemes continued to operate. Now that the country has begun the process of restoring normal operations and in keeping with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, the recruitment of new CE participants by the CE sponsoring authorities has recommenced and the first group of new CE participants will be in place from Monday, 6th July, 2020.
Officials in my Department have continued to communicate with CE sponsoring authorities and Tús implementing bodies on the importance of adhering to the up-to-date information, guidelines and legislation relating to Covid-19 as provided by Government Departments. They have also been asked to ensure that all employees are kept abreast of the national advice provided and to familiarise themselves with the Return to Work Safety Protocol and the Government Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
The Department of Children & Youth Affairs (DCYA) is co-ordinating the return to work for the childcare sector and has announced a funding package for reopening Early Learning and Childcare Services which will assist childcare employees, in returning to work. My Department Officials are in communication with their counterparts in DCYA in relation to CE and Tús scheme participants operating in the childcare sector and the availability of new recruits to replace those participants who will leave over the coming period.
Department officials will continue to work with CE sponsoring authorities and Tús implementing bodies to ensure a smooth transition to normal business operations.