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Schemes to support employment


There is a range of employment schemes and other supports which encourage long-term unemployed people to return to work. They are aimed at people who have been on unemployment or certain other social welfare payments for a specific period of time. Some schemes fund community and voluntary organisations to provide employment opportunities which benefit the local community. Each scheme has different rules as to who is eligible so it is important to check the detailed information about each scheme. If you are returning to work through one of these schemes your social welfare payment may be affected in different ways, depending on the scheme. People on certain disability payments may qualify for the schemes and there are a number of employment supports for people with disabilities.

Childcare: If you take up a place on a Department of Social Protection employment programme (except Community Employment), you may be eligible for the After-School Child Care (ASCC) scheme. There is a separate Community Employment Childcare (CEC) Programme for people who need childcare to take up a place on a Community Employment scheme.

Budget 2016: It was announced that from January 2016 there will be an increase of €2.50 per week in top-up payments paid towards meals and travel costs for Community Employment , Rural Social Scheme, Gateway, Job Initiative, Tús and JobBridge participants.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme assists unemployed people and others getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed. People who are setting up their own business and who qualify for the BTWEA scheme may retain a percentage of their social welfare payment for up to 2 years.

Short-Term Enterprise Allowance

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) provides support to people getting Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) who want to start their own business. The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of your JB and there is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to be getting JB for a certain length of time.

Part-time Job Incentive

The Part-time Job Incentive (PTJI) scheme is for people who have been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance for 15 months or more. It allows them to take up part-time work and get a Part-time Job Allowance instead of the Jobseeker’s Allowance. Information about how to qualify is in our document, Part-time Job Incentive Scheme.

Community Employment

The Community Employment programme provides long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people with training and work experience through part-time and temporary placements in jobs based within local communities. There are 2 different categories of Community Employment: the Part-time Integration Option and the Part-time Job Option.

Rural Social Scheme

The Rural Social Scheme allows low-income farmers and fishermen/women who are unable to earn an adequate living from their farm holding or from fishing earn a supplementary income. Local organisations are funded to provide participants in the scheme with part-time work that benefits rural communities.

Community Services Programme

The Community Services Programme funds community services and community businesses to provide essential services and businesses to their communities which will provide employment to unemployed people and people with disabilities. The Community Services Programme evolved from the Social Economy Programme and provides funding over 300 groups.


The Tús scheme is a community work placement initiative providing work opportunities which benefit the community and are provided by community and voluntary organisations in both urban and rural areas. Unemployed people who are eligible to participate in the scheme are selected and contacted by the Department of Social Protection.


The Gateway scheme is a local authority scheme providing work opportunities for long-term unemployed people who have been on the Live Register for over 2 years. The work opportunities are to benefit the local area. Unemployed people who are eligible to participate in the scheme are selected and contacted by the Department of Social Protection.

JobBridge - National Internship Scheme

JobBridge, National Internship Scheme provides internship placements for unemployed people in private, public, community and voluntary organisations. Participants must be on the Live Register for 3 months and the internships will last from 6 to 9 months. If they take up an internship they will keep their social welfare payment and will get an extra €50 per week.

Work Placement Programme

The Work Placement Programme provides 9 months’ work experience for unemployed people. The Programme provides places in the private, public, community and voluntary sectors. Participants do not have to be getting a social welfare payment but participants who are getting certain social welfare payments for 3 months may keep their payment.


JobsPlus is a new employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. This incentive replaces the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption Scheme from 1 July 2013. Eligible employers who recruit full-time employees on or after 1 July 2013 may apply for the incentive, which will operate on a pilot basis for a period of 6 months.

Revenue Job Assist

Revenue Job Assist is an additional tax allowance for people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more and who are now returning to employment. Revenue Job Assist ceased on 30 June 2013 for new participants and has been replaced by a new JobsPlus incentive scheme since I July 2013.

Page edited: 28 October 2015



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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.