THE Community Employment (CE) programme (more commonly known as the ‘CE Scheme’) is designed to help people who are long-term unemployed (or otherwise disadvantaged) to get back to work by offering part-time and temporary placements in jobs based within local communities.
If you are a participant in the CE scheme, you can take up other part-time work during your placement. After the placement, you are encouraged to look for permanent jobs elsewhere, based on the experience and new skills you have gained while on a community employment scheme.
How do I know if I’m eligible for the scheme?
How you qualify depends on your age and your personal situation. In general, you must be unemployed. You must also be getting a relevant social welfare payments for at least 12 months. You should check with your local Intreo office or Citizens Information Centre for more detail on the social welfare payments that are relevant and help you qualify for the scheme.
Does time on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) count towards the CE qualifying period?
Yes it does however you must establish your entitlement to a qualifying social welfare payment before you start on CE.
How long can I stay on the scheme?
If you are aged between 21 and 55 years, your CE placement generally lasts for one year. However, if you are working towards a major education award, your CE placement can be extended by up to two years to complete this award. You won’t get an extension beyond three years (or four years for people on a disability-linked social welfare payment). If you are aged over 55, you can stay on CE for three consecutive years. If you are aged 60 years and over and meet the CE eligibility requirements, you can stay continuously on CE until you qualify for a State pension, once you meet the terms and conditions of the scheme and providing that there are places available.
How many hours a week would I work on the scheme?
You must work for 19.5 hours per week (excluding breaks) for your sponsor to be eligible for a grant towards the cost of wages. Your sponsor may agree with the Department of Social Protection to arrange your work hours differently for example, 39 hours every second week, or 19.5 hours every week, in combinations of full or half days or 2.5 days per week.
How much do I receive if I’m on a CE Scheme?
Since January 2022 the minimum weekly payment for new participants based on 19.5 hours worked is €230.50. If the actual social welfare payment (including dependants) you were getting was €208 a week or less, then you will get the minimum CE weekly rate of €230.50 (that is €208 plus €22.50).If your actual weekly social welfare payment (including dependants) was €208 or more, then you will get the same rate as your social welfare payment plus €22.50.
What happens my medical card if I go on a CE Scheme?
You will keep your medical card when you are on CE. You will also keep your entitlement to the extra benefits you were getting immediately before going onto CE, provided you continue to satisfy the conditions for these benefits.
How do I apply for the CE scheme?
To participate in the Community Employment scheme, you must register at your local Intreo Centre or social welfare branch office. There are a limited number of CE places available. Your Intreo Centre or social welfare branch office can provide information about CE job opportunities. Job listings are also available online at jobsireland.ie