- €1,000 grant to all CE schemes to help with rising costs
- New Pilot Scheme will see Adult Dependants eligible for CE
- Eligibility for CE extended for people arriving from Ukraine
The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State, Joe O’Brien TD, have today announced a series of improvements to Community Employment (CE) Schemes.
CE Schemes play a vital role in both rural and urban communities in terms of supporting people on the road to employment.
There are 835 CE Schemes nationwide delivering a wide range of community services, particularly in disadvantaged areas. Currently, there are over 18,500 CE participants.
As part of the package secured by the Ministers, the following measures are being introduced:
· The payment of a €1,000 grant to CE sponsor organisations to help them deal with rising costs;
· Adult dependants of CE participants in receipt of a Jobseeker’s Payment will qualify in their own right for the first time;
· Eligibility for CE Schemes will be reduced from 12 months on the live register to 9 months for Ukrainian nationals who have fled the war.
Announcing the changes today, Minister Humphreys said:
“As Minister for both Social Protection and Rural and Community Development, I recognise the vital role that Community Employment schemes and their participants play in local communities right across the country. These schemes support a range of key local services in areas such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital works designed to enhance our towns and villages. I am therefore delighted to announce this series of changes which will benefit both the CE organisations and participants themselves.”
Minister Humphreys continued:
“Like any organisation, CE bodies have been impacted by increased inflation. I’m therefore pleased to announce the payment of a grant of €1,000 to support CE bodies to assist them with their bills. Minister O’Brien and I are also aware that some local schemes have been experiencing difficulties in filling vacancies which in turn can have an impact on the delivery of important local services. Therefore, we are extending the criteria of those who can participate on CE Schemes to adult dependents on jobseeker payments for the first time. And finally, in support of Ukrainian nationals living here, we are pleased to reduce the period of time that someone is required to have spent on the Live Register from 12 months to 9 months. This substantial package is on top of the range of measures that we have introduced to support CE participants and indeed CE organisations themselves over recent budgets.”
Welcoming the new measures, North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea said:
“This grant of €1,000 towards costs and the improvements to CE eligibility demonstrate this Government’s commitment to CE schemes and recognises the valuable services they deliver for communities. These measures also recognise the valuable work experience and training opportunities CE Schemes provide to the long term unemployed. Participants on CE work part time to provide essential services to local communities. The changes announced today will support schemes by widening the pool of people eligible for CE with the intention of increasing participation”.
Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme 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 CE sponsoring authorities employ participants to deliver a range of services to local communities throughout the country. As well as contributing to the delivery of local services, CE participants develop a range of occupational skills and work experience that help to improve their own prospects of securing full-time employment.
The types of work CE 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.
Recent changes to CE scheme eligibility and qualification criteria
· All people over 60 years of age are able to remain on CE until reaching retirement age.
· CE participants whose contract term was coming to an end are permitted to stay on CE until a replacement is found.
· Updating the baseline year to 2014, and to ensure that this is updated annually.
· Putting enhanced referral procedures in place to support recruitment to CE.
· New flexibility to allow CE schemes to directly recruit eligible candidates to fill 30% of places.