Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (127)

Gerry Adams

Question:

127. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on any proposed changes to the community employment scheme programme; if there is a maximum time that a participant can avail of a CE scheme; the way it is determined that a participant is eligible to renew their place for the upcoming year within a specified scheme in which they are already engaged; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42631/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently two options for participation on Community Employment (CE) based on the length of time a person is in receipt of CE-qualifying social welfare payments:

- Part-time Integration Option (PTI) which is a one-year programme of CE for those who have generally been in receipt of qualifying social welfare payments for 52 continuous weeks or more.

- Part-time Job Option (PTJ) which is a three year programme of CE subject to annually renewable contracts for those who have generally been in receipt of qualifying social welfare payments for 156 continuous weeks or more.

With effect from 3 April 2000, lifetime cumulative participation on CE by an individual will be limited to:

- 3 years (156 weeks) for persons under 55 years of age.

- 6 years (312 weeks) for persons of 55 years of age up to and including 65 years of age.

- Eligible persons in receipt of a qualifying disability-linked Social Welfare payment will be eligible for one additional year on CE over the standard maximum participation caps, i.e. 4 years cumulative maximum time on CE for those under 55 years of age (Part-Time Job Option only), and 7 years cumulative maximum time for those between 55 and 65 (Part-Time Job Option only). Participation on CE prior to 3 April 2000 is not counted. Offshore island residents are exempt from this participation cap, subject to the availability of places on island-based CE schemes.

In terms of extending a participant's time on CE for another year under the Part-Time Integration Option, the CE Sponsor must submit a proposal for the re-engagement of participants to the Department officials at least 8 weeks before the participant’s annual contract is due to expire. In the application for re-engagement the Sponsor must identify the circumstances for the re-engagement of each participant, in line with the following criteria:

(i) Where the participant would benefit from continued participation in terms of additional development and training by clearly outlining his/her specific continued engagement within their Individual Learner Plan or,

(ii) Where completion of a project has been delayed for a short time for reasons outside the control of the Sponsor,

Criterion (i) above will be the main basis on which re-engagements will be considered, criterion (ii) is to be treated as exceptional. A maximum of 10% of current Part-Time Integration participants on a project can apply for re-engagement for a further year. This does not apply to Part Time Job Option participants.

For Part-Time Job Option participants, the Sponsor must again supply the details in writing at least 8 weeks before the project year ends, or the participant’s annual contract is due to expire. Persons considered “job-ready” by their Supervisor at their contract renewal time will not be extended into a further year. The operating procedures for Community Employment are kept under review and updated regularly. All amendments are notified to Department staff and CE Sponsors at each new release.