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Community Employment Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (25)

Holly Cairns

Question:

25. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will extend the amount of time a person can stay on community employment due to the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 18 months. [50125/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme providing 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.

I am aware of the challenges caused by the Covid-19 public health restrictions and the resultant impact on many CE participants and schemes. As the Deputy may be aware, Minister Humphreys and I have taken a number of measures to support CE schemes and participants during the course of the pandemic.

CE and Tús participants’ contracts that were due to come to come to an end during the various levels of COVID related public health restrictions were extended on a number of occasions, going back to October 2020. At present, over 18,000 CE participants and 5,000 Tús participants will benefit from the latest contract extensions until 4th February 2022.

CE and Tús participants will begin to leave schemes on a coordinated and phased basis from February 2022 to January 2023. This will ensure that participants will be able to fully avail of the work experience and training opportunities available while enabling schemes maintain local community services.

Once normal CE and Tús operations return, it is important that these places are available to the newer cohort of long term unemployed, including those whose jobs are permanently lost due to the pandemic. Time spent on PUP will count towards eligibility for CE and Tús. My priority and the priority of the Department is to have all CE and Tús schemes back providing normal services and supports to their long-term unemployed participants while delivering valuable services to local communities. I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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