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 you may be eligible for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS). The NCS is a new scheme that provides financial support to help parents to meet the costs of childcare. The NCS replaces all existing targeted childcare support programmes.

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) gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business. To qualify you must be getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. There is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to have been getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for a certain period of time. However, you will not qualify if you are getting Jobseeker’s Benefit and working part-time. The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 9 months. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit ends (that is at either 9 or 6 months).

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.

Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)

YESS helps long-term unemployed young people get back into the workplace. It gives people aged 18–24 the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment, while on a work placement in a host organisation.

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. How you qualify to participate in a CE scheme will depend on your age and your personal situation.


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.


JobsPlus is a employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. This incentive replaces Revenue Job Assist. Eligible employers who recruit full-time employees on or after 1 July 2013 may apply for the incentive.

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 approximately 400 groups.

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.

Page edited: 17 June 2020