Grants for employers to retain employees with disabilities

Introduction

The Employee Retention Grant Scheme is a scheme that aims to assist employers to retain employees who acquire an illness, condition or impairment that affects their ability to carry out their job. The scheme is part of the Department of Social Protection’s Reasonable Accommodation Fund and it aims to maintain your employability by providing funding to:

  • Retrain you so that you can take up another position within the company
  • Identify accommodation such as work equipment adaptation and/or training to enable you to remain in your current position.

Rules

The scheme is open to every company in the private sector. Any existing employee (working at any level in the organisation) who acquires an illness, condition or disability that affects their job is covered under this scheme.

Public sector employers are not eligible to apply for these grants. Public sector employers are obliged to promote positive attitudes toward disability and ensure they put in place all arrangements to ensure the full integration of staff with disabilities into employment.

Funding under this scheme is made available in 2 stages:

Stage 1: Assists employers by allowing them to hire expert skills from outside the company to develop a written individual retention strategy for any employee who acquires a disability. The retention strategy could set out steps needed to accommodate and, if necessary train the employee to remain in his or her role. Alternatively, the retention strategy could outline where the employee could be re-deployed in the company and the accommodation/re-training needed to do this.

Stage 2: Provides funding to the employer towards the implementation of the written retention strategy. This will include grant aid towards re-training, job coaching and/or hiring an external co-ordinator to oversee the way the individual retention strategy is implemented.

The following activities are not eligible for funding under the Employee Retention Grant Scheme:

  • Attendance at workshops and seminars
  • Capital expenditure associated with training
  • Company-wide disability management assessments
  • The development of disability or absence management policies.

Developing the Retention Strategy

The employer contacts a specialist (for example, an occupational therapist) who evaluates the employee's occupational capacity and carries out a job/workplace assessment. The specialist then develops the retention strategy in collaboration with the employer, the employee and if it is appropriate, the employee's advocate or representative (for example, a trade union representative) and line-manager. The retention strategy must accompany an application for Stage 1 funding and must have been received before an application is made for Stage 2 funding.

Rates

Stage 1: Under the scheme 90% of the programme costs are paid (up to a maximum amount of €2,500 for each employee) in order to enable the employer to hire a specialist(s) to evaluate the employee's occupational capacity, to carry out the workplace or job assessment and to develop a retention strategy.

Stage 2: Funding of 90% of eligible costs to a maximum of €12,500 is paid to help with:

  • Training the employee for their current post or retraining them for another post within the company
  • Hiring a Job Coach to provide support to the employee and liaise with their line manager for a maximum of 300 hours and/or
  • Hiring a specialist to manage the retention strategy on an ongoing basis until the employee's reintegration is complete for a maximum period of 60 hours.

An employer cannot make an application for funding under Stage 2 without having the assistance of an individualised written retention strategy. There is a maximum limit of €15,000 payable to an employer for the purposes of retaining any one employee, that is, the total funding available for both Stage 1 and Stage 2.

How to apply

Applying for Stage 1 funding

The employer must complete and return the Stage 1 application form (pdf) which is available online or from the local employment services office.

The application form must be accompanied by:

  • References for the specialist from 2 companies that have previously employed them
  • Copies of the specialist's qualifications and, where applicable, professional memberships
  • The employer's current Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number
  • A current Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number for the specialist or their employer.

The application form must be signed by the employee, the employer (or nominee), the employee's line-manager (where appropriate), the employee's representative (where appropriate) and the specialist.

Making a claim for Stage 1 funding

The employer must complete the parts of the ERG claim form (pdf) that relate to Stage 1. The claim form must be accompanied by:

  • Detailed invoices and receipts
  • A copy of the written retention strategy
  • A copy of the employer's Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number if not previously submitted
  • A copy of the specialist's or their employer's Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number

The claim form must be signed by the employer (or nominee).

Applying for Stage 2 funding

Employers can apply for Stage 2 funding once Stage 1 has been completed. Applications for Stage 2 funding must be approved by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) before the retention strategy is implemented. The Stage 2 application form (pdf) must be accompanied by:

  • References for the specialist(s) or Job Coach(es) from 2 companies which have previously availed of their services, together with copies of their qualifications and, where applicable, professional memberships
  • The current Tax Clearance Certificates or electronic Tax Clearance Access Numbers for all external parties involved in the implementation of the retention strategy if not previously submitted
  • The employer's current Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number if not previously submitted.

The application form must be signed by the employee, the employer (or nominee), the employee's line-manager (where appropriate), the employee's representative and the specialist or Job Coach.

Where the value of an application is greater than €5,000 and a single provider provides services, the employer must obtain 3 independent quotations and present them to DSP. If the lowest quote is not accepted, the employer must state the reason for the selection.

Making a claim for Stage 2 funding

The employer must complete the parts of the standard claim form that relate to Stage 2. The claim form must be accompanied by:

  • Detailed invoices and receipts
  • A copy of the employer's current Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number if not previously submitted
  • A copy of the current Tax Clearance Certificate or electronic Tax Clearance Access Number for the specialist and/or their employer if not previously submitted.

The application form must be signed by the employer (or nominee).

Your local employment services office or Intreo centre will forward a copy of the general conditions governing the scheme. General information about the scheme and the forms required are available. Staff in your local employment services office will also be happy to answer any queries and provide any assistance you require.

Page edited: 5 December 2016