Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed major reforms to the CE, Tus and Rural Social scheme, announced this week.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I am delighted to see these schemes undergoing significant reform. These schemes provide vital local services such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital work in our communities.
“These are welcome changes which have been under consideration for a long time and I welcome this Government’s commitment in implementing these good improvements both for the participants and the schemes.”
“The purpose of CE and Tús is to provide long term unemployed participants with work experience in their local communities to help them find employment.
“There are currently over 19,000 participants on CE, almost 5,000 participants on Tús and just under 3,000 participants on the Rural Social Scheme. Government investment in the three schemes will amount to over €500million in 2022.”
The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “Also today, the application process for the ex-gratia payment for CÉ Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors is being opened. This ex-gratia payment will benefit around 2,500 people at a total cost of over €24 million.”
Changes to CÉ, Tus and RSS
Government has approved the following changes:
· Removal of the six-year time limit for all participants on the Rural Social Scheme.
· Eligibility for Tús extended to persons in receipt of Disability Payments
· New flexibility to allow CE schemes to directly recruit eligible candidates to fill 30% of places.
· Intreo to significantly increase the number of referrals to CE with schemes required to offer places to at least 60% of candidates referred.
· New Pilot Scheme to extend eligibility to Qualified Adults to be explored
· Continue to allow schemes to extend individual placements and retain existing participants in cases where no replacement candidate has been selected. This means that local services should not be impacted due to an inability to replace participants.
These measures are in addition to previous changes introduced earlier this year which allow participants on CE and RSS who are aged over 60 to remain on schemes until retirement.
Ex-gratia payment to CE supervisor and assistant supervisors
The CE Ex-Gratia Payment which was agreed in December 2021 by the Department of Social Protection and the unions, SIPTU and Fórsa, representing CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors. It will benefit approximately 2,500 people employed by CE schemes at a total cost of over €24 million. On reaching retirement age, eligible CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors will receive a once off payment in respect of time employed by CE schemes. Around 700 persons who have retired since 2008 will be able to apply for payment from this scheme, straight away. From this week, the Department is issuing letters to this first group of beneficiaries, inviting applications for payment.
Notes to Editors
Community Employment (CE) and Tús are active labour market programmes designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged people with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.
The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is an income support scheme that provides part-time employment opportunities for farmers and fishermen and women in receipt of specified social welfare payments, and who are underemployed in their primary occupation.
RSS is specifically designed and delivered to certain qualified people of working age whose income falls below certain limits. The valuable work undertaken by participants draws on their existing skills which may be further developed and shared throughout their participation.
The types of work CE, Tus and RSS participants are involved in include local amenities management, environmental projects, arts and culture, sports, childcare, Tidy Towns, health-related services, meals on wheels and drug rehabilitation schemes.
CE Ex-gratia payment
This payment settles a Labour Court recommendation on pensions in respect of CE supervisors and assistant supervisors.
The ex-gratia Payment, which was agreed in December 2021 by the Department of Social Protection and the unions, SIPTU and Fórsa, representing CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors. It will benefit approximately 2,500 people employed by CE schemes. It has a total cost of over €24 million. On reaching retirement age, eligible CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors will receive a once off CE Ex-Gratia payment in respect of time employed by CE schemes.
The CE Ex-Gratia Payment will be calculated based on actual time worked, with periods of time spent in part-time employment calculated on a pro-rata basis. For CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors who qualify, this payment will be based on the salary scale point when the CE employment ceased. The payment is subject to a cap of €600 per week for a maximum of 2 weeks per year. The qualifying period for the CE Ex-Gratia Payment is from 1st July 2008 to the 31st December 2023.
Department of Social Protection officials are currently communicating in writing with CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors who may have an immediate entitlement to the scheme inviting them to apply for this payment and to those who retired since 2008.