Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (123)

Cian O'Callaghan

Ceist:

123. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he is taking to provide community employment supervisors access to pensions in line with the 2008 Labour Court recommendation to provide access to an occupational pension scheme and the 2015 Lansdowne Road agreement that progress would be made on this issue during the lifetime of that agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29315/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Deputy will be aware that the matter of community employment schemes falls within the policy remit of my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection.

I have however a strong appreciation of the role of Community Employment Schemes in communities right across the country and I know this role could not be fulfilled without the leadership of the Scheme Supervisors. In this context I have taken the opportunity to meet with the relevant parties involved in these schemes to hear at first hand their issues of concern.

The particular matter raised by the Deputy is a complex one that raises significant policy, legal and exchequer cost issues. The Deputy may be aware that the State is not the employer of the workers concerned. A detailed scoping exercise was carried out in 2017 in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications, in both cost and precedent terms, of the issues involved. The outcome to the scoping exercise was that the matter has potentially very significant implications for the exchequer, particularly if consequential demands were to be made by all similar State funded Community and Voluntary organisations whose employees are in a similar position to the Community Employment scheme supervisors.

This is a factor which must be borne in mind in our approach to this issue. While CE supervisors and assistant supervisors represent a small part of the wider community and voluntary sector, consideration must be taken for the potential liability to the State if similar claims are made by the many workers in the broader community and voluntary sector.

As the Deputy will appreciate, we are now facing major challenges in managing the public finances. However, I intend, with my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection to consider all the issues involved in relation to this matter and will continue to engage constructively with the relevant stakeholders.