Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Community Employment Schemes
670. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans to provide pension provision as per a 2008 Labour Court recommendation for community employment supervisors; the timeframe for a decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16703/21]
As the Deputy will be aware, Community Employment (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 for CE supervisors who are employed by CE schemes.
CE sponsoring authorities are the legal employers of their CE supervisors, CE assistant supervisors and CE participants. The Department’s role continues to be that of CE funder.
At this point, I want to acknowledge the valuable and dedicated service that CE supervisors provide in running CE schemes delivering local based community services while providing a valuable training and development opportunity to the long-term unemployed and to those often furthest removed from the labour market.
This issue of pensions was examined by a Community Sector High Level Forum, chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. A number of Departments, including my own Department, were represented on this group, as were the unions and Pobal.
In its findings, the High-level Group stated that while CE supervisors and assistant supervisors represented only a very small part of the wider community and voluntary sector, any explicit provision of State funding for such a scheme in respect of CE Supervisors could potentially give rise to claims for funding for employees in the broader sector. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform stated that it had to have regard to any potential Exchequer exposure associated with dealing with the specific issue as regards CE supervisors arising from the Labour Court recommendation.
The Deputy should note that funding of any potential pension provision for CE supervisors will ultimately be a matter for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to determine within the wider budgetary framework and economic context in which any such scheme will need to operate.
Within this context, officials from my Department and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform held discussions on proposals to progress this issue over the past number of months. Following a recent discussion with Minister McGrath, I am optimistic that this issue will be progressed in the near future