The back to work enterprise allowance is a weekly payment to unemployed persons who have commenced a business.  They retain full social welfare payment for the first year and 75 percent in the second year.  It is not taxed or subject to PRSI. The business venture must be viable and sustainable.  It must be approved in writing by a local development company or facilitator.

The applicant must have Jobseeker’s Benefit for 12 months with an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance for 12 months or illness benefit for three years or one parent family disability allowance, blind pension, Farm Assist incapacity supplement, pre-retirement allowance, invalidity pension, carer’s allowance, widow or widowers non-contributory pension, deserted wives benefit, or prisoners wives allowance for at least 12 months.

Time spent on training courses with Solas Failte Ireland community employment scheme, rural  social scheme, community service program, national internship,  work placement programs, job initiative, back to education or VTOS count as a period of unemployment.  A person may not avail of the scheme twice within a five-year period.

Participants in the scheme may retain secondary benefits which they have prior to going on the scheme provided they satisfy a household income means test. It is  paid by direct payment into an account or financial institution or at a post office.  An application must be made in advance to the local development company or facilitator.

The part time job incentive scheme may allow a person who has been long-term unemployed to receive a weekly allowance instead of jobseekers payment after he takes up a part time job. The applicant must obtain part time employment under 24 hours a week and undertake to stay on the scheme for at least two months.  The job must be insurable as Class A or J.  Prior to commencing, the person must have been receiving jobseekers payments for 15 months or more at a higher rate than the part time job incentive rate applicable.

A personal rate of payment is made instead of job seekers payment.  In this payment earnings are not assessed.  A qualified adult increment may be available. The payment is made at the post office.  A weekly declaration is required as to hours worked to the  Department of Social Protection.

The maximum stay on the scheme is one year.  It may be extended.  A person on the scheme must continue to seek full time employment. No secondary benefits are kept.  A medical card may be retained regardless of earnings up to a maximum of three years. A person working at least 19 hours a week with one qualified child may also be entitled to family income supplement.

Persons under the part time job incentive scheme are entitled to a special allowance equivalent to Jobseeker’s Allowance. The claim is investigated by a social welfare officer to determine eligibility.  The scheme is non-statutory and there is no right to a social welfare appeals office appeal.  The person may seek to refer the matter to another officer in the  Department for review.

The person must sign a declaration that he works for less than 24 hours a week.  Forms must be completed on a weekly basis to continue qualifying under the scheme.  Employers must complete a form and return it every four weeks.  The scheme may last for up to one year.

The short-term enterprise allowance scheme may be available to a person who wishes to commence a sustainable business. The scheme applies to  a self-employed business.  It must be viable and sustainable and can be accessed immediately.

The scheme is available to persons entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit.  Payment continues to be  made at the appropriate Jobseeker’s Benefit rate and the last for the remainder of the social insurance period claim. The claim must be preapproved by the local development company or facilitator.

The Work Placement program allows unemployed persons the opportunity to work for nine months experience at a work placement with a business.  They retain their social welfare status for a maximum of nine months during this period. Placements must be for a minimum of 25 hours per week.  It is available for persons receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit.  They must be in receipt of social welfare payments or at least three months.

There are two streams in the work placement program. Stream 1 of the program requires that the person has a qualification at level 5 of the national framework of qualifications including graduates.  It’s not necessary to be in receipt of social welfare payment. Certain stream 2 payments are reserved for persons under 34 years.

It is necessary to notify the placement to the  Department.  No payment from the employer is permitted. The qualifying payments covered include Jobseeker’s Allowance and benefit, disability benefit, illness benefit, one parent family payment, deserted wife’s benefit, supplementary welfare allowance. In the case of certain other disability and injury type benefits it is necessary to obtain consent from the  Department in advance.

It is necessary to give a job through a placement provider and the  Department one week’s notice of leaving. If the position qualifies under the employer job PRSI incentive scheme or after three months of work placement, the person may qualify as an eligible worker under the scheme.

Employers in the public, private and voluntary services sectors are eligible.  They must register with the  Department.  The maximum number of placements is ten or ten percent of the workforce whichever is lower.  The placement must be a minimum of 25 hours.  It must be in an area of where there is no existing vacancy.

Employers are not eligible to participate if they have  had  redundancies in the previous three months, unless they qualify with certain conditions.  In smaller firms,  below-30 employees, one, two or three placements may be permitted.

The short-term enterprise allowance is available with no qualifying period for those in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit.  It is allowed instead of benefit for a maximum of one year. In order for qualify, a person must have 104 weeks’ paid PRSI contributions and be entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit.  A business plan must be approved in writing by a jobs facilitator, a local partnership company or integrated local development company. The employment must not be seasonal, temporary or part time.

A person may receive a employment grants from the Local Enterprise Office  or integrated local development company, which do not affect entitlement to short term enterprise allowance.  There is a technical assistance and training fund which helps persons getting the allowance with costs involved in job starting.  There is no automatic allowance entitlement. Assistance may be facilitated and approved by the jobs facilitator at the social welfare office.

The allowance replaces Jobseeker’s Benefit for the person concerned.  Short term enterprise allowance is paid at the same rate, including adult and child dependents.  It ends when the entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit ends.  The allowance is subject to  income tax as is Jobseeker’s Benefit.

Secondary benefits may be retained subject to continuing compliance with the conditions.  Increases in income may affect entitlement to rent supplement or mortgage interest relief.

If the applicant lives in an area covered by a integrated local development company or local partnership company, an application should be made to the enterprise officer in that area.  Otherwise, it should be made to a jobs facilitator in the social welfare local office.

Gradlink is operated by the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation.  It is designed to assist in improving skills.  The applicant retains social welfare payments for a duration of placement for up to 9 months.  This scheme has evolved into the jobbridge scheme mentioned below. On 21 October 2016, the JobBridge scheme was closed down.

The short-term working training program provides for two days training a week over a one-year period.  Workers who are on systematic short-term working for three days a week and receiving social welfare payments for two days, receive training under the scheme for two days.  They continue to receive their existing social welfare entitlements.

The employer PRSI incentive scheme exempts employers from liability in respect of employers PRSI for certain employees.  They are exempted for a maximum of 18 months from the date of the approval.  The scheme was operative 1st January 2012.

The 2013 budget anticipates a new scheme that would replace job assist and employers PRSI incentive scheme.  It is termed the plus one  initiative.

Under the employers job PRSI incentive scheme the job created, and the person employed must meet criteria.  Approval is required under the scheme and PRSI must be operated pending approval. The job must be a new and additional post.  It must not substitute an existing employee.  It must be for at least 30 hours a week and last six months.

The person employed must have been getting social welfare payments for at least six months either jobseekers, disability or one parent family allowance.  Employees may also be employed directly from jobbridge  or under the work placement program provided the 156 days criteria is established. Time spent on various schemes count towards the six months.

The exemption is available only for a limited number of employees.  There is a maximum of 5 percent of the workforce.  For new companies, a maximum of five new jobs is permitted.

Revenue Job Assist allows employees additional tax credits for three years.  It allows employers a double wage deduction in their accounts in computing corporation profit tax.  The deduction reduces the overall business profit by allowing the double deduction. Jobs must be for a minimum of 30 hours a week and be capable of lasting for years.

The person recruited must have been unemployed for 12 months or more.  The double deduction may last for three years.  It applies to wages paid to a qualifying employee in a qualifying employment and the PRSI contributions paid on such wages.  It may be claimed in addition to the PRSI incentive scheme.

It does not apply to jobs, over 75 percent of the earnings of which  are based on commission.  It does not apply to jobs aided by other agencies whether statutory or not or supported under other  Department of Social Protection schemes.    It may not be taken up by a proprietary director, spouse or civil partner of such person.  It must not be in an employment where no workforce is required.

It does not apply if the previous holder has been unfairly dismissed. The scheme is not available where any employees are made of redundant in the 26 weeks prior to commencement of new employment.  This may apply where a case of genuine replacement can be shown, where an employee retires or voluntarily leaves employment.

The person employed must be unemployed for at least 12 months prior to the commencement of employment.  He must be in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, one parent family, disability benefit, injury benefit or invalidity pension.  Time spent on certain courses qualifies as periods of unemployment for Revenue Job Assist.

The employed person gets additional tax allowances under the scheme.  There is extra personal tax allowances and a child tax allowance for each qualifying child.  This decreases steadily over three years, dropping by approximately one-third each year. A employee who changes employment during the three years can keep the allowance provided he takes up another qualifying job.  Otherwise, taking another job will cause him to lose the allowance.


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