Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Community Employment Schemes
262. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the landlord of the building which houses the Enniscorthy Intreo office (details supplied) ever applied for any funding to carry out any work to upgrade the building prior to and during Covid-19; if so, the funding that was applied for; the work that was carried out; and the person or body that signed off on same. [2535/23]
263. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the person in her Department that visited the Enniscorthy Intreo office (details supplied) to check its suitability for employees and clients to be in the building; and if no one inspected the suitability of the building, the reason. [2536/23]
264. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the person from her Department that inspected the building to check the ventilation system and the non-availability of hot water for workers to wash their hands in the building housing the Enniscorthy Intreo office (details supplied). [2537/23]
265. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if any representatives from her Department verbally voiced any concerns in relation to the safety of employees in the building housing the Enniscorthy Intreo office during and at the start of Covid-19, guaranteeing the duty of care owed to workers (details supplied). [2538/23]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 to 265, inclusive, together.
Community Employment (CE) 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.
The Community Employment (CE) programme is delivered through independent CE sponsoring organisations who receive state funding to cover the salary costs of supervisors, assistant supervisors, and participant remuneration, along with a grant towards training and material costs from my Department. CE sponsoring organisations are the legal employers of CE supervisors, assistant supervisors and participants.
The provision of CE work locations is a matter for each employer, with responsibility for premises, Health and Safety, and all other employee related matters remaining with the employer (the Community Employment sponsor). CE sponsor organisations are subject to all legislation and regulatory oversight that applies to all employers in the State.
While the questions refer to Enniscorthy Intreo Centre, it is understood that they are intended to refer to another building in the town. The building concerned is privately owned and is occupied by a not-for-profit Community Employment sponsor organisation.
While most of the matters referred to are not the responsibility of the Department and should be referred to the appropriate regulatory authorities; the Department can confirm that no application for funding has been received and/or paid from the Community Employment materials grant for building renovations.
In regard to the safety of employees during and over the period of Covid 19 restrictions, Government guidelines were issued and updated weekly for this purpose and were communicated to all, individuals and employers. The staff of the Department remained available for consultation by employers at all times and advised on best practice as it evolved.
I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.