Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Fergal Feehely from Construction Industry Federation to give some advice for people considering this job:

Fergal Feehely

Apprentice Painter Decorator

Construction Industry Federation

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Fergal Feehely
If you work hard and produce excellent quality work you will never be quiet.
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Realist?
Realist
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Return to work supports


Often people worry about losing their social welfare benefits when they return to work. However, there are a number of supports and incentives available that can help you make this transition back into employment.

The Ready Reckoner is a user friendly tool for those in receipt of a jobseeker's payment. It gives an indication of the difference between your potential in-work and your current out-of-work payments based on information provided by you. The tool is anonymous and you are not required to enter your personal details.

To view this: click here

Jobseeker’s payments and part-time work

If you are unemployed and in receipt of either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance you can accept an offer of part-time work and may be able to qualify for a Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance payment for the days that you are unemployed. You must be:

  • unemployed for at least 4 days in any 7 consecutive days (including Sunday)

Working for any part of a day, even only for one hour, is counted as a day of employment by the Department of Social Protection. You must advise the Department of any work you intend to undertake while receiving either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. 

If you are engaged in part-time employment you must be available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. For more information: click here

The Part-Time Job Incentive (PTJI) Scheme, run by the Department of Social Protection, is intended as a stepping stone to full-time work. It allows certain long-term unemployed people to take up part-time work and get a special weekly allowance instead of their jobseeker’s payment. Recipients of the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme must be available for and seeking full-time work while getting the payment.

For more information: click here

JobsPlus

JobsPlus is an incentive from the Department of Social Protection to encourage and reward employers who offer employment opportunities to the long term unemployed. Grants of €7,500 and €10,000 are available over two years for each eligible employee.

For more information: click here


The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about returning to work:

Q1. Can I retain my Medical Card?

People who have been unemployed for a minimum of 12 months may retain their Medical Card for a period of 3 years if they commence employment. The Medical Card scheme is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Q2. Are there any childcare supports available to help me make the transition to employment?

A subsidised after school childcare scheme is available to support low-income and unemployed people to return to the workforce. It is targeted at families that are most in need at a critical time in their progression into employment. By offsetting some of the child care costs associated with availing of an employment opportunity, the scheme aims to support individuals to take up employment.

Details of this scheme are available here.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs also provide additional subsidised childcare supports. Details of these schemes are available on their website www.dcya.ie 

Q3. My income is still low, can I claim any financial support now that I am back in work?

FIS is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children which gives extra financial support to people on low pay. New employees under JobsPlus may be entitled to receive Family Income Supplement (FIS). JobsPlus is payable to the employer it does not prevent you from claiming FIS. If you are signing off the Live Register and meet the other conditions for FIS in terms of hours worked (at least 19 hours per week) etc. you may be eligible for FIS. 

To find out if you are eligible for FIS: click here

To view all supports for those claiming a social welfare payment and returning to work: click here