Written Answers. - Summer Jobs Scheme.

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

114 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if it is proposed to change the level of payment to students on summer jobs scheme in order to have a uniform payment and eliminate the present two-tier level of payment in keeping with the principle of equal pay for equal work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17557/01]

The students summer jobs scheme will operate this year from 1 June to 30 September. It is targeted at students from low income families who are participating in third level courses and who, under existing legislation, cannot apply for unemployment assistance during the summer months.

This year, in order to give extra assistance to less well off students, an additional £1 per hour will be paid to those students whose parents are dependent on social welfare payments. This will allow them to earn an extra £200 if they work the maximum number of hours allowed under the scheme, giving them a total payment of £800 for 200 hours work. Demand for the scheme has dropped off significantly in the past few years which reflects the wider availability of summer jobs for students.

There are no plans to increase the general £3 per hour payment under this year's scheme. It would be inadvisable to do this in a tightening job market situation when demand for labour is high, especially during the busy summer period.