Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (437)

Ruth Coppinger


437. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if low pay in the community centre sector will be examined; if these workers will be in receipt of a pay increase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53871/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

Community Centres throughout the country have staff funded through various schemes, for example the Community Services Programme, the Rural Social Scheme, the Community Employment Programme and Tús. Each scheme has different qualifying criteria and funding rates. My Department has responsibility for the Community Services Programme (CSP) while the other schemes are under the remit of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

The CSP supports qualifying organisations by providing a fixed annual contribution towards the cost of an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions including a manager where warranted. €32,000 per annum is provided towards the costs for the manager position and €19,033 per annum towards each FTE position.  

The CSP contribution does not meet the full salary cost of supported posts.  It is a fixed annual contribution that must be co-funded by the organisations concerned from other sources, for example, from income generated from the use of facilities and services provided. Moreover, all internal operational matters, including general employment issues and salary levels relating to CSP supported posts are solely matters for the Boards of those organisations to manage as the respective employers.  Organisations supported by the CSP are obliged, under the terms of the programme, to pay their employees at least the minimum wage level.  

Indecon Consultants are carrying out an independent review of the CSP programme, on behalf of my Department, which is nearing completion.  The review will examine, among other things, the programme's qualifying criteria and income generation requirements.  It will help inform decisions on the future shape and structure of the programme.

In the meantime, I have provided over €1 million in additional supports this year under the CSP Support Fund, to help to address the financial challenges faced by many of the smaller organisations supported by the CSP.