Minister Joe O’Brien announces major reforms to CE, Tus and Rural Social Scheme

1st July, 2022

  • Six Year Time Limit for RSS removed
  • Eligibility for Tús extended
  • Flexibility to allow Schemes recruit directly
  • New Pilot Scheme for Qualified Adults to be explored
  • Application process for Ex-Gratia Payment for CE Supervisors Opens

Minister Joe O’Brien announced major reforms to Community Employment, Tús and the Rural Social Scheme after securing Cabinet approval for same.

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.

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

Minister O’Brien’s Department secured Government approval for 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 by Minister O’Brien and his Department earlier this year which allow participants on CE and RSS who are aged over 60 to remain on schemes until retirement.

Minister for State, Joe O’Brien T.D said:

“Almost 27,000 persons participate on these schemes, working part time, to provide services to local communities including in disadvantaged and rural communities.  I know from visiting lots of schemes around the country and here in Fingal many of these changes address issues brought directly to my attention during these visits. 

“It is clear that with the increased turnover of participants on schemes, post COVID, and in the tightening labour market, schemes are finding it difficult to recruit sufficient number of participants.

“This could lead to difficulties for schemes maintaining vital community services such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital work in our communities.

“The changes announced today will support schemes by strengthening the recruitment process, allow schemes retain more participants beyond their standard contract time limits, as well as removing the six-year time limit for the final group of RSS participants to whom it still applied.

Ex-gratia payment to CE supervisor and assistant supervisors

As part of the announcement Minister O’Brien said that the application process for the ex-gratia payment for CE supervisors and assistant supervisors is now open.

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.

– ENDS –