Thursday, 19 May 2022
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
306. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she is considering waiving the condition of being on jobseeker’s allowance for at least one year in relation to eligibility for the TÚS scheme for Ukrainians who have moved to Ireland due to the war there, in order that they can participate fully and integrate into society should they fail to get employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25541/22]
The European Union has activated the Temporary Protection Directive, as an emergency provision in response to the War in Ukraine. The Directive allows Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing Ukraine to move through the EU and receive supports. The Directive also allows people to access employment supports and the right to work in this country on the same basis as EU citizens. This includes the application of rules governing eligibility for active labour market measures such as Tús.
In engaging with people arriving from Ukraine the Department's initial priority is the allocation of PPSNs and the provision of immediate financial supports. A fast-track approach in processing these supports includes a simplified decision-making process and quick processing of PPSNs to allow access to public services and income supports.
My Department is also providing assistance to Ukrainians to find employment. A dedicated section on www.jobsireland.ie, has been developed providing information on employment supports and opportunities for newly arrived Ukrainians. Ukrainians seeking employment can also use jobsireland.ie, to upload details of their skills and experience for matching with available employment opportunities or can come to a local Intreo Office to talk to an employment support officer. Employers across all sectors who wish to support Ukrainians through provision of employment opportunities, should register on www.jobsireland.ie to advertise vacancies. This will further assist Intreo employment services officers match the skills of those seeking employment with available work opportunities.
My department has recently launched a programme of employment engagement events specifically for those who have come to this country from Ukraine. This will enable Intreo and the wider Public Employment Services to provide further support and assistance to Ukrainians in finding employment. These engagements are being provided on an outreach basis in, or close to, current accommodation hubs, or by inviting the people concerned into Intreo offices to meet with employment support officers.
Tús is a community work placement initiative that provides short-term, quality work opportunities in community and voluntary sectors for those who are unemployed for more than a year, while also providing certain services to communities. Refusal to participate on Tús can result in having your social welfare payment reduced or cancelled.
We need to ensure that employment support programmes such as Tús, which were designed to assist those furthest from the labour market, continue to be available for those who would most benefit most from these programmes. For Tús, this continues to be those who have been unemployed for a year.
Eligibility criteria for Tús continues to be kept under active review by my department officials to ensure the best outcomes for individual participants, to support communities in which participants are placed and in light of changes to the labour market.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.