Written Answers. - Scheme Workers Alliance Submission.

Tony Gregory


223 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment his views on a submission (details supplied) from the Scheme Workers Alliance. [1779/96]

The following are my views on the submission made by the Scheme Workers Alliance. CE participants are treated in the same way as all other PAYE tax payers in so far as income tax is concerned. In reality, however, few participants actually pay income tax as most do not earn enough in a single tax year to do so.

CE participants are granted payment increases in line with social welfare allowances. In addition they retain secondary social welfare benefits and are also allowed take up part time employment without any reduction in their CE allowance. These benefits are of considerable benefit to CE participants and form part of their overall remuneration package.

From April 1996 CE participants will be insured at class A PRSI. This will considerably increase the range of social welfare benefits for which they are insured. As from April CE will consist of two distinct options, (a) part-time integration option and (b) part-time job option. It is intended that 30,000 and 10,000 places will be provided on the integration and job options respectively and that participants on the job option will in future have access to the relevant worker protection legislation applying to part time workers.

Development modules for CE participants which includeinter alia personal-employment skills, technical skills relating to project work and support for own time development are currently being phased in for projects involving eleven or more participants. In addition FÁS have been asked to bring forward proposals for quality improvement which will build on the current training arrangements for CE and which will ensure that quality work experience related to labour market needs is provided to participants by sponsors. Under the terms of the new part-time job option, participants will have an annual contract of employment renew-able for up to three years. In addition up to 10 per cent of those engaged on the part-time integration option can be re-engaged for a second year.