Minister Robert Troy has welcomed new measures to support Community Employment (CE) and TÚS schemes as we continue to battle the ongoing pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, the government has approved the extension of CE and TÚS participant contracts that would have come to an end during Level 5 restrictions on a number of occasions, the most recent being the end of March. To date, over 5,000 participants have benefited from these arrangements.
Participants of both schemes whose contracts were due to finish over the period since last October will now benefit from a further extension up to the 2nd July.
This will benefit those 5,000 participants with existing contract extensions, and an additional 2,000 participants whose contract would ordinarily end between now and the start of July.
Following the announcement, Minister Troy commented, “The value of these schemes is enormous but often hard to quantify, particularly in rural communities. They undertake a variety of work in their local communities.
“Under the Government’s July Stimulus Programme last year, approval was secured for 3,000 additional places to support CE and TÚS schemes. These additional places underline the Government’s commitment to CE and TÚS and will provide opportunities for new schemes as well as facilitating more people on the existing ones.’’
At a meeting hosted by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister of State Joe O’Brien with CE and TÚS project sponsors in January, the CE sponsors, sought clarification regarding a change to the conditions relating to the participation on CE schemes that was introduced in July 2017. This change limited participation to a maximum period of 3 consecutive years. The Ministers asked officials in the Department of Social Protection to review this issue.
“I understand that participants who were 55 years or older, at the time of the July 2017 rule change and who were already on a CE scheme at that time, are not affected by the change and have the option of remaining on CE for up to six consecutive years,’’ said Minister Troy.
“Fianna Fáil has long been an advocate of programmes like the Community Employment scheme and TÚS, recognising the fact that they act as a means of getting people out working again, while also providing a huge social and economic dividend in the communities where these schemes operate.