Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

Michael Ring

Question:

69 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if it is compulsory for an unemployed person to take up a place on a community employment scheme. [19829/98]

The community employment scheme, which is operated by FÁS, provides an option for long-term unemployed persons and lone parents to participate in part-time employment with a sponsor for one to three years. Participation in the scheme is on a voluntary basis.

Social welfare legislation provides, that to be entitled to unemployment benefit or assistance a person must be available for and genuinely seeking but unable to obtain suitable employment.

Although participation is not compulsory, failure to attend for interview or refusal of an offer on the community employment programme without due cause raises a question as to whether a person satisfies the above conditions.

In these circumstances the case would be reviewed and the person requested to outline the reasons for the refusal and to provide evidence that they continue to be available for and genuinely seeking work.