Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Community Employment Schemes
56. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the local community employment scheme will be extended to supervisors; and the discretion to extend schemes or to extend the tenures of persons working on the schemes on the basis of need. [25007/20]
528. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will direct local community employment supervisors time to show discretion on extending the community employment schemes due to expire. [24448/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 528 together.
The Community Employment (CE) scheme 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.
In general, the period of participation on CE is for one year. However, participants on CE who are working towards a major award or industry qualification can seek to extend participation by up to a further two years.
Extensions for these purposes, which would include approval of departmental funding, are dealt with by officials within my Department.
CE is delivered through independent CE sponsoring bodies that receive state funding from the Department. CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors are employees of the CE sponsoring bodies and are not employees of my Department. It is therefore not permissible for CE supervisors or CE assistant supervisors to have discretion in relation to the extension of CE participants' employment contracts.
CE supervisors work closely with Department officials in the development of CE participant Individual Learning Plans and therefore contribute to the wider discussion of how much time a CE participant will spend on the CE scheme.
CE sponsoring bodies that are seeking extensions for CE participants can discuss the cases with Department officials who will consider a range of factors in the best interest of the CE participant. These factors may include the time already spent on CE, the quality of training and experience gained, major and minor awards achieved, the CE participants age and the availability of other employment supports that may assist the individual.
Department officials will also identify other long-term unemployed CE candidates who are looking to avail of the opportunities afforded by CE.