Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Community Employment Schemes
96. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the engagement he has had with the Department of Social Protection in relation to the issue of pensions for community employment scheme supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20382/21]
97. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the engagement he has had with the Department of Social Protection in terms of providing a pension scheme for community employment scheme supervisors. [20408/21]
109. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when funding will be released to establish the occupational pension scheme for community employment scheme supervisors as recommended by the Labour Court in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20488/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 96, 97 and 109 together.
The Deputy will be aware that the matter of community employment schemes falls within the policy remit of my colleague the Minister for Social Protection.
I have however a strong appreciation of the role of Community Employment Schemes in communities right across the country and I know this role could not be fulfilled without the leadership of the Scheme Supervisors. In this context I have taken the opportunity to meet with the relevant parties involved in these schemes to hear at first hand their issues of concern.
The particular matter raised by the Deputy is a complex one that raises significant policy, legal and exchequer cost issues. As it relates to the Community Employment scheme, a resolution must be progressed via the Department of Social Protection. The Deputy may be aware that the State is not the employer of the workers concerned. This is a factor which must be borne in mind in the Department of Social Protection’s and the overall State’s approach to this.
As the Deputy will appreciate, we are now facing major challenges in managing the public finances. However, in conjunction with my colleague the Minister for Social Protection I have given fresh consideration to all the issues involved. I have in recent days written to Minister Humphreys with a proposed way forward in relation to this complex issue. I understand that the Minister will as a next step undertake further engagement with the relevant stakeholders to make progress.