5000 new Tús work placement opportunities in the community sector

Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Social Protection has announced the arrangements for the Government’s new work placement initiative in the community sector. The initiative known as Tús, will provide 5,000 short term working opportunities for people unemployed for over a year. The placements will be with community sector organizations to support the delivery of their services. €30 million is being committed in 2011 to allow for the introduction of Tús and this will grow to a commitment of €100 million in 2012. Tús joins a range of new and expanded initiatives designed to provide assistance to the unemployed recently announced by the Tánaiste.

The Minister believes that Tús will be able to address the twin aims of providing opportunities for those who are unemployed and support for community and voluntary activity.

Tús, which will operate in rural and urban areas will be delivered using the infrastructure developed for the Rural Social Scheme which has operated in rural areas since 2004. This will ensure that administrative and employment obligations are shared between the Department and Local Development Companies and not by community sector bodies.

The Minister said: “I aim to achieve a number of objectives with Tús. Firstly, people who are unemployed will have an opportunity to work in the community for a twelve month period. Secondly, community organisations will benefit by harnessing the skills of people who are willing to work, and thirdly, this measure will provide opportunities for my Department to develop its control processes for the Live Register.”

Tús – key features

• The introduction of Tús was announced in the Budget with an allocation of €30m in 2011.

• Up to 5,000 places will be funded once the initiative becomes fully operational later in 2011.

• Tús will provide short-term, quality opportunities for unemployed people to work in community and voluntary bodies providing a broad range of services of benefit to communities.

• Participants will be paid the full jobseekers rate plus an additional €20 per week. Under 25 year olds will be paid the maximum Jobseekers Allowance plus €20 per week which makes Tús attractive to this group.

• The employment will be insured for all benefits under the social insurance system.

• Participants will work for 19 ½ hours per week for a duration of 12 months and there may be some degree of flexibility in terms of the schedule of hours.

• While responsibility for the operation of Tús rests with the Department of Social Protection, it will be managed at a local level, on the Department’s behalf, by each of the 52 Local Development Companies. Údarás na Gaeltachta will deliver Tús in the Gaeltacht.

• Community & Voluntary Organisations will be able to register their interest with the relevant Local Development Company and offer placements.

• Those who are unemployed for more than 12 months and in receipt of Jobseekers Assistance will be offered the opportunity to consider a placement by the Department of Social Protection.

• Local Development Companies will maintain panels of those identified by the Department for recruitment by community bodies.

• Tús will provide another outlet for the reinvigorated processes being rolled out under the National Employment Action Plan.

• It will support the control and management actions of the Department of Social Protection by identifying those not genuinely interested in work or those operating in the black economy.

• It has both an urban and rural focus and is built on the proven architecture of the Rural Social Scheme.

• A key feature of Tús will be to provide a new activation route that will support unemployed people in remaining job-ready for re-entry to employment as the economic environment improves.

• The first placements are expected towards the end of Quarter 1/2011 once implementation arrangements have been agreed with the Local Development Companies.