Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (397)

Bríd Smith

Question:

397. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the situation in relation to the data collection exercise agreed by her Department in relation to the LCR19293 recommendation CE/JI Supervisors-Assistant Supervisors; the reason it included data from other categories not included in the LRC recommendation; if the data will be corrected to cover just the workers covered by the LCR recommendation; if the Community Sector High Level Forum will be convened in order to resolve the outstanding issues in relation to LCR19293; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50793/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Community Employment Scheme (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 programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies. The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor, responsible for all purposes and all persons recruited by them.

Participants and supervisors on CE schemes are employees of private companies in the community and voluntary sector that receive public funding. My Department provides funding in respect of the participant and supervisors' payroll for individuals up to State Pension age. CE Supervisors are not employed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

In July 2008 the Labour Court recommended that an agreed pension scheme should be introduced for CE supervisors and assistant supervisors (LCR19293), and that such a scheme should be adequately funded by FÁS, who were then responsible for CE. FÁS was not a party to the LRC case.

The issue of CE Supervisors’ pension provision was considered by a Community Sector High Level Group chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). All stakeholders were represented on the group. A detailed scoping exercise was undertaken and included input from the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service on the potential cost of providing Exchequer support for a pension scheme across the wider Community and Voluntary sector.

Any explicit provision of State funding for such a scheme in respect of those employees would inevitably give rise to claims for similar schemes and funding provision on the part of those many thousands of workers in the broader sector. The Government has to have regard to the full potential Exchequer exposure associated with setting such a precedent.

The reconvening of the Community Sector High Level Group is a matter for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.