I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.
JobsPlus provides a direct monthly financial incentive to employers who recruit employees from those who are long term on the live register. JobsPlus is biased in favour of those who are longer term unemployed. It provides employers with two levels of payment: €7,500 over two years where a jobseeker who is 12-24 months on the live register is recruited and €10,000 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months. The subsidy is paid in monthly instalments over a two year period provided the employment is maintained.
To qualify as an eligible employee for the €7,500 Incentive a jobseeker must be at least 12 months (312 days) on the Live Register in the previous 18 months. To qualify as an eligible employee for the higher Incentive of €10,000 a jobseeker must be at least 24 months (624 days) on the Live Register in the previous 30 months. Periods spend on an internship under JobBridge are counted towards eligibility and interns can be supported directly from JobBridge once the eligibility criteria are satisfied. A person on a one parent family payment is not considered eligible given the focus of JobsPlus on recruitment from those longer term unemployed and receiving a jobseekers payment. The Department of Social Protection is currently finalising a review of the initial phase of implementing JobsPlus. The review will consider eligibility criteria and if it is appropriate to meet the objectives set for JobsPlus. The Deputy will appreciate that any broadening of eligibility will have cost implications and require consideration in the context of the forthcoming Budget.
Since its launch in July 2013 to the end of May 2014, JobsPlus has concluded arrangements to support 2,385 jobseekers in full-time employment with 1,811 employers nationally. Around 60% of jobseekers being supported had been on the live register for over 24 months at the time of recruitment.