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Community Employment Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 19 October 2021

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Questions (609)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

609. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to ensure that consideration is given to the incredibly valuable work of community employment supervisors as part of ongoing negotiations regarding pensions; if she will request that a forum for engagement be established between her Department and the supervisors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50417/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

As the Deputy will be aware, CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors have been seeking for several years, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme for CE supervisors and assistant supervisors who are employed by CE scheme sponsors.  

This claim creates some difficulties because the State is not the employer of the supervisors.

At this point, I wish to acknowledge the valuable and dedicated service that CE supervisors provide in running CE schemes delivering local based community services while providing a valuable training and development opportunity to the long-term unemployed and to those often furthest removed from the labour market. 

Officials from my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform held discussions on proposals to progress and resolve this complex issue, while having regard to the wider budgetary framework.  Department officials also held discussions with unions representing CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors.

At the start of April this year, agreement was reached with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on proposals to resolve the long-standing issue.  These proposals include a financial package.

I am confident these proposals are a solid basis for progressing and resolving this complex issue.  Discussions on these proposals are ongoing between my Department and the unions representing CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors.  The unions have made a number of observations, and these are currently being examined by my officials in conjunction with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and other relevant Government Departments. 

My officials are continuing to progress this matter as a priority, and I would hope that these discussions can reach a conclusion in the near future.

As the Deputy may be aware, earlier this year, Minister Humphreys and I established the Operational Forum comprising of Departmental officials and employment support scheme sponsors and their representatives.  The Operational Forum meets on a periodic basis to consider and discuss operational matters and provide information on future developments relating to the employment support schemes

The Deputy may also be aware that a separate tripartite forum is already in place to facilitate unions and employer representatives in raising local scheme operational issues, raised by their members, with Department officials for further consideration.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy. 

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