Abbeyleix CE Scheme workers have been a vital part in the town's Tidy Towns success.
Changes to Community Employment, Tús and the Rural Social Scheme in Laois are positive according to Laois Offaly TD and Seán Fleming.
The Minister of State in the Department of Finance welcomes positive said Community Employment and Tús help people who have been unemployed for a long time to get work experience in their local communities to help them find employment.
He added that the Rural Social Scheme is aimed at low-income farmers with the people participating in the scheme provide services that benefit rural communities.
Minister Fleming said the Laois Partnership Rural Social Scheme is a good example of this in action. He said the group work throughout Laois on projects ranging from Tidy Towns & village enhancement to maintenance of community facilities, sporting facilities and maintenance and caretaking of heritage sites. There are currently 27 people on the Rural Social Scheme in Laois.
The Fianna Fáil TD's statement said the minimum weekly payments for these schemes is €230.50 but this can increase if you are a single parent or in receipt of a disability allowance for example.
"This is a vital source of income for some families across Laois," he said.
He outlined some key changes to these schemes include:
Dep Fleming said these measures are in addition to previous changes introduced earlier this year which allow participants on Community Employment and Rural Social Scheme who are aged over 60 to remain on schemes until retirement.
Separately, as of today, the application process for the once off payment for Community Employment Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors is being opened.
Under the terms of this scheme on reaching retirement age, CE supervisors and assistant supervisors will receive a once off ex-gratia payment in respect of time employed by CE schemes since 2008.
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