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 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 Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) provides financial incentives to private sector employers to employ people with a disability who work 21 hours per week or more, up to a maximum of 39 hours per week.
An employee with a disability on the Wage Subsidy Scheme is subject to the same conditions of employment as other employees. These conditions include PRSI contributions being paid and tax deductions being made in respect of the employment, as well as the employee having the same annual leave and other leave entitlements as other employees of that employer. The employer must pay the employee with a disability the going rate for the job, which must be at least the statutory minimum wage. These terms and conditions of employment should be set out in the employee’s contract.
The financial supports for employers available through this scheme are structured under three separate strands and employers could benefit under one strand or under two or three strands simultaneously, as the case may be.
To find out more about this scheme: 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?
Working Family Payment (WFP) 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 Working Family Payment (WFP). JobsPlus is payable to the employer, it does not prevent you from claiming WFP. If you are signing off the Live Register and meet the other conditions for WFP in terms of hours worked you may be eligible for this payment.
To find out if you are eligible for WFP: click here
To view all supports for those claiming a social welfare payment and returning to work: click here