Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
417. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the negotiated proposals for gratuity payments for community employment supervisors and community employment assistant supervisors will also be available to supervisors on the rural social schemes who are also without pension provision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28021/21]
The Department of Social Protection delivers a range of employment and income support schemes including Community Employment, Tús and the Rural Social Scheme.
These schemes are delivered by independent bodies funded by the Department. CE is delivered by sponsoring authorities while Tús and RSS are delivered by 48 local development companies and by Údarás na Gaeltachta, known collectively as Implementing Bodies. While the Department provides funding for participant and supervisors' payroll, the Department is not the employer of any scheme participants or their supervisors.
It is important to note that the State is not responsible for funding pension arrangements for employees of private companies, even where the companies in question are reliant on State funding. Pension arrangements are a matter to be agreed between employees and their employers. All employers, including CE sponsoring organisations and the IBs that deliver Tús and RSS, are legally obliged to offer access to at least one Standard Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) under the Pension (Amendment) Act 2002.
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 that specifically related to the provision of a pension scheme for CE supervisors and assistant supervisors who are employed by CE schemes.
It is within the context of the 2008 Labour Court recommendation that officials from my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the unions representing the CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors held discussions on proposals to progress this issue over the past number of months. These discussions were held on the clear agreement by all involved, that they related solely to CE supervisors and assistant supervisors.
As the Deputy is aware, an agreement was reached recently between my colleagues, the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on proposals to resolve the long standing issue. Details of these proposals have been forwarded to the unions representing CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors by the Department of Social Protection. I understand the unions are currently considering these proposals and have sought clarification on some of the details contained in the proposal. My Department are engaging with the unions on this basis. I am confident this is a solid basis for progressing and resolving this complex issue, while ensuring there is no potential exposure for additional costs to the exchequer.
If an agreement is reached on the proposal, it will only apply to those parties who were the subject of the 2008 Labour Court recommendation and the subsequent discussions with both Departments, namely CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors. The related provisions will not apply to other parties such as Tús and RSS supervisors.