The JobsPlus Incentive was introduced on 1 July, 2013 and replaced two existing schemes - the Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme and the Revenue Job Assist. It provides a direct monthly financial incentive to employers who recruit employees from those who are long-term unemployed. The incentive is payable, on a monthly basis, over a two year period if the employee is retained in full-time employment for two years. The value of the aggregate monthly payments is €7,500 for employing a jobseeker 12 to 24 months on the live register and €10,000 if the jobseeker was on the live register for over 24 months. At the end of March 2014, payments under the JobsPlus scheme had been made in respect of 1,874 new jobs with expenditure totalling €2.83 million to date. Some 60% of beneficiaries to date were previously over 24 months on the live register.
Pathways to Work sets out the Government’s policy direction on labour market activation and is a key element of the Government’s strategy to get Ireland working again. The strategy outlined in Pathways is devised to ensure new job opportunities are made available to people on the live register with particular focus on the longer term unemployed. JobsPlus is exclusively targeted at this cohort. While consideration will be given to expanding the scheme and possibly broadening the range of qualifying payments, I do not consider that it would be justified to open the scheme to farmers who are working and in receipt of a farm assist payment. Given the pressure on resources, I believe it is justified to continue to maintain priority on longer term jobseekers, in line with the commitments in Pathways to Work.