Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (Self-Employed)


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Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme Guidelines

CONTENTS
1.  The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme
1.1 Purpose of Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme
1.2 Objective
1.3 Legislative Basis
1.4 What does Back to Work Enterprise Allowance provide?
1.5 Administration
1.6 Queries
1.7 This version
2.   Short Term Enterprise Allowance Scheme
2.1 Description of Scheme
2.2 Eligibility
2.3 Rates Structure
2.4 Extra Benefits
3.   Common Conditions for BTWEA/STEA
3.1 Overview
3.2 Criteria
3.3 Transfer of Allowance to Qualifying Adults
3.4 Absence from the State
3.5 Resumptions
3.6 Re-qualify
3.7 Data Protection/Freedom of Information
4.   General Information (BTWEA/STEA)
4.1 Overview
4.2 Definition of a new business
4.3 Examination of suitability to BTWEA/STEA
4.4 What a Case Officer should consider during the initial meeting
4.5 Next steps following Case Officer Assessment
4.6 Business plan approval
4.7 Local Development Company
4.8 DEASP and LDC Collaboration
4.9 Role of the LDC Enterprise Officer
4.10 Communication
4.11 Claims
4.12 Decisions
4.13 Requests for Review of Entitlement
4.14 Mentoring & Monitoring During Period of Payment
4.15 Business deemed not sustainable following 3 or 9 month review
    4.16 Part-time employment or education
4.17 Retained Fire Fighter
4.18 Subcontractors
4.19 Business Structure
4.20 JobPath
4.21 ESF/YEI Requirements
5.   Rates of Payment
5.1 Qualifying payments
5.2 Rates of Payment
5.3 Extra Benefits
5.4 Tax & PRSI
5.5 Payment
5.6 Continuing Payment after a Death in the Family
5.7 Credits
6.   Control and change in circumstances
6.1 Maintenance/Review
6.2 Responsibilities of the Divisions/Intreo Centre’s
6.3 Recovery of overpayments
APPENDIX 1
APPENDIX 2
APPENDIX 3

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme  

A Review of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme was published in February 2017 

http://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/Review_of_BTWEA_Feb17.pdf  

 The review identified a number of areas where improvements can be made including: 

  • Co-operation between DEASP and Local Development Company (LDC)  
    • Where it is possible, DEASP and the LDCs should work together in examining applications for the BTWEA. DEASP should utilise LDC expertise and ensure that there is no duplication of effort in the analysis of the customer’s business plan.  
    • In this context, co-operation between the Department and the LDCs, whereby the DEASP & the LDC agree jointly (by means of an appraisal panel meeting or a similar process) that the business is a suitable BTWEA proposal, is essential.
  • Role of a DEASP Officer(s)  
    • To ensure that the customer is enterprise ready, the case officer should consider if the individual requires further training prior to becoming self-employed or if there is a more suitable activation route for him/her.  
    • Overall, case officers need to satisfy themselves that the person has a genuine business proposal and interest in self- employment.  
    • The case officer shall decide on the suitability of a proposal for BTWEA taking into consideration any input or recommendation from the LDC. This includes taking into account the following issues:  
    • That there is clarity and understanding regarding what is a tangible new business/enterprise - as opposed to ins​urable employment.  
    • Local displacement - this can prove difficult but must be a factor in the consideration of each business plan. In this context, it is important that the business proposal is considered in the area of the proposed business operation, rather than the area where the customer signs-on.  
    • Market saturation - some areas may have to exclude certain business types from applying for BTWEA because of this issue.  
    • Mandatory follow-up by the case officer in terms of approved projects – case officers should provide support for the first 9 months after commencing on BTWEA and have at least two meetings (at 3 and 9 months) with the person in that period. These meetings should establish that the business is operating and trading in accordance with their business plan. Where a business is not operating in line with their business plan, consideration should be given to the person exiting the BTWEA and pursuing another activation path. This review should be conducted by means of a face-to-face desk review by a case officer or, in some situations; a case officer may need to request a Social Welfare Inspector to carry out a site visit to the business.  
    • At these sessions, a case officer should also consider if the person would benefit from ongoing business mentoring and, if so, a referral should be made to the LDC.  
  • Role of the LDC Enterprise Officer 
    • To mentor the customer and assist with the business planning etc. once the person’s eligibility for the BTWEA has been established;
    • To consider issues of local displacement and market saturation, as outlined above;
    • To make a recommendation on the business suitability to DEASP; and
    • Ongoing business mentoring.  
  • Communication with LDC
    • DSP should inform Enterprise Officers of the outcome of the BTWEA application and, where a business case is classified as not being suitable for BTWEA, this should also be communicated to the LDC.  
  • Training and Mentoring 
  • Definition of a new business  
  • Displacement & Market  
  • Part-time Employment and Education  
  • Assessment of means from Qualified Adult  
 

1.1 Purpose of Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme 

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme (BTWEA) is designed to encourage the long-term unemployed to take up self-employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing portion of their social welfare payment, plus secondary benefits in certain circumstances, over two years. 

1.2 Objective 

The objective is to support the long-term unemployed to commence self-employment in order to generate new enterprises and increase employment. 

1.3 Legislative Basis   

BTWEA is a non-statutory scheme approved by Government. Government Decision S.27511b of 21 Iúil 1993 refers. 

1.4 What does Back to Work Enterprise Allowance provide? 

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme offers effective support for long term unemployed individuals interested in self-employment as a route to (re-) entering the labour market and also plays a useful role in supporting the development of new enterprises.    

Support services 

Those interested in BTWEA are referred from Intreo Centres to the Enterprise Officer in their Local Development Company who assists them in analysing their options, exploring the viability of their business idea and preparing a business plan to outline their new enterprise. Upon completion of the BTWEA application and the business plan the DEASP Case Officer will review the new enterprise proposal and make a recommendation to the deciding officer in the Intreo Centre. Once accepted onto the scheme these new enterprises can then avail of the supports from the DEASP Case Officer and mentoring from their Local Development Company over the two years of the scheme.  

 

The package of supports available to participants under the BTWEA consists of:   

  • A weekly payment equivalent to the full value of the main social welfare payment in the first year, tapering to three-quarters of the value in the second year of operation of the enterprise. 
  • Removal of the requirement to satisfy the condition of genuinely seeking work and being available for work to receive the weekly allowance;
  • Potential retention of secondary benefits; including medical card where the entitlement existed prior to BTWEA;
  • Access to support and advice by the DEASP Case Officer
  • Access to support, advice and mentoring by an Enterprise Officer in a Local Development Company (LDC) through the SICAP programme
  • Access to the DEASP funded Enterprise Support Grant (on approval by a DEASP Case Officer).  

1.5 Administration 

Policy in respect of the scheme and these rules have been developed and are administered by: 

Employment Support Services
Back to Work Section
Shannon Lodge
Carrick on Shannon
Co. Leitrim. 

1.6 Queries 

Queries of an operational nature and queries from applicants and participants should be addressed locally using these rules and guidelines.  If a query cannot be resolved, a referral should be made, in the first instance, to Intreo Centre management or to the relevant area manager.  Queries of a policy nature or of a complex operational nature that cannot be resolved at local level can be sent in written form to MBX-BacktoWorkAllowance    

1.7 This version 

This version of the rules and guidelines for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme are operational from the 1 July 2017 and supersede previous guidelines issued in respect of the scheme.   

2.1 Description of Scheme 

This scheme is designed to provide immediate support for someone who loses their job and  qualifies for Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) but wants to start a business, provided it is recommended by a Partnership company/DSP Case Officer and approved by a Deciding Officer in the Intreo Centre. A person working part-time and claiming JB is not eligible for the scheme. 

It provides an incentive to recipients of Jobseeker’s Benefit to avail of self-employment opportunities by allowing them to retain their appropriate Jobseeker Benefit rate.  The maximum duration of the allowance is the same as if the person remained on Jobseeker’s Benefit until entitlement expires; i.e. 234 days or 156 days, depending on the number of contributions paid.    

2.2 Eligibility 

To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the following conditions: 

  • Be awarded Jobseeker's Benefit.
  • Have made application for STEA before engaging in self-employment
  • Be in a position to start up a viable business as a self-employed person.
  • Obtain written recommendation from their local Partnership Company and/or DEASP Case Officer, in advance of engaging in self-employment that is full-time in nature 

2.3 Rates Structure 

The STEA replaces the participant’s Jobseeker’s Benefit. On transfer to STEA, a qualifying person is paid at the appropriate JB rate until entitlement to JB expires. These are set rates that do not vary, except where a qualified adult makes a claim for DEASP payment in his/her own right. 

2.4 Extra Benefits 

Participants in the STEA scheme may retain any secondary benefits that they received with JB such as a Medical Card, Back to School Clothing & Footwear allowance, Diet Supplement, Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme, subject to certain conditions.

BOMi to be checked when BTWEA/STEA eligibility is being established and when scheme is being approved and if those schemes are in payment Community Welfare Officer to be notified by the Deciding Officer.
   
Any increase in income may affect a participant’s Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement. Applicants for STEA should contact the Officer dealing with their claim so that entitlements can be clarified.
 

Common Conditions for BTWEA/STEA 

3.1 Overview 

The BTWEA provides a level of security for a person who is unemployed wishing to commence a new enterprise. It provides a guaranteed income for the first two years of their business. This, along with the package of other supports available, should increase the opportunity for success in a new enterprise.  

3.2 Criteria 

The BTWEA is payable to applicants who satisfy the following conditions immediately prior to commencing self- employment:  

  • under the age of 66 - the BTWEA is only payable up to a person’s 66th birthday;
  • setting up a new enterprise which has been recommended, in writing, in advance by a Local Development Company (LDC) and/or by a DEASP Case Officer and in receipt of a qualifying payment as outlined below : 

In the event that the LDC does not recommend a business plan & application for BTWEA the application should not proceed. This should be communicated by the LDC to the Client.  

Primary Eligible Payments for 9 months (234 days)  

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (incl. Casuals*)
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit (incl. Casuals*) must have an underlying entitlement to JA. If there is no JA entitlement then no BTWEA entitlement.
   
 (*Casuals MUST cease their casual employment before commencing on BTWEA – this should be evidenced by a P45 or a letter from the employer)
     
 

Other Eligible Payments for 9 months (234 days) 

  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Jobseekers Transitional Payment (JST)
  • Blind Pension
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit (DWB)
  • Disability Allowance
  • Widows/Widowers Non-Contributory Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Carer’s Allowance (having ceased caring responsibilities & not applicable to half-rate carer’s recipients)
  • Invalidity Pension
   

In addition to those listed above the following may also be considered for participation in the scheme

 
  • Farm Assist (for 9 months (234 days) provided that the self-employment is not in relation to the holding and not the continuation of an existing operation)
  • Illness Benefit (3 out of last 5 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment)
    
 

Combination of Payments for 9 months (234 days)

 
  • Combination of OPFP/JST/JA
  • Combination of any other qualifying social welfare payments listed above (except Illness Benefit)
 

 

Other Qualifying Periods

1. Periods spent on the following count towards the qualifying period provided they are preceded by a qualifying payment:

    •  Full-time Solas/Fáilte Ireland training courses,
    • Community Employment,
    • Rural Social Scheme,
    • JobBridge,
    • Gateway,
    • TÚS and
    • BTEA/VTOS

The applicant must re-establish an entitlement to a qualifying payment as the BTWEA rate paid is based on this figure.

2. Periods spent in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Direct Provision count towards the qualifying period provided the applicant establishes an entitlement to a relevant SW payment prior to commencing on the scheme.
   
3. Periods spent as Qualified Adult for (1) and (2) above count towards qualifying period once person has established entitlement to a qualifying social welfare payment in their own right.   
 
4. Periods spent as Qualified Adult on JA/JB count towards qualifying period for BTWEA once person has established entitlement to a qualifying social welfare payment in their own right.
 

5. The qualifying period for Back to Work Enterprise Allowance for ex-prisoners is 9 months.  Only periods spent in prison in the State can be taken as, or count towards the qualifying period once an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance is established.

6. Customers who are currently unemployed in Ireland (for at least 13 weeks) and on a qualifying payment can have recent periods of unemployment in other EU countries accepted.  

 

3.3 Transfer of Allowance to Qualifying Adults 

Where a person is partaking in the BTWEA scheme and they are no longer in a position to continue with the running of the business due to mitigating circumstances(Note 1) . Their qualified adult may avail of entitlement for the duration remaining on the original claim, provided they continue to run the business that was approved on the original BTWEA application. For the purpose of these arrangements, an adult dependent is a spouse/partner in respect of whom a qualified adult allowance is payable. When the Qualified Adult commences BTWEA, a separate claim should be set up in his/her name. S/he can claim an increase for the existing BTW recipient, who should sign for credits instead. There should be no loss suffered by the couple when entering this arrangement. This provision does not apply where original applicant commences employment. If the original owner of the qualifying social welfare payment decides to claim another Social Welfare payment during the lifespan of the BTWEA claim, the BTWEA claim must cease as BTWEA cannot be claimed concurrently with another SW payment. 

 

Qualified adults who take up insurable employment including Community Employment - will result in the BTWEA payment being reviewed and where appropriate reduced accordingly. Also in circumstances where a new ADA is eligible for inclusion on a claim or the ADA’s hours/pay is reduced a BTWEA customer may also request a review (the rules of the primary payment should apply to the QA rate). BTWEA reviews (including change in circumstances) will be carried out at the 3 & 9 month face to face meetings and during the 12 month communication. The onus is on claimant to inform Intreo Centre of any changes in circumstances as they occur.

 

3.4 Absence from the State 

All new enterprises approved for BTWEA must operate within the state. In cases where BTWEA applicants whose self-employment ventures require that they spend time out of the country, it is a requirement that the intention/need to be absent from the state is highlighted on business plan/application and if/when approved is noted on the claim. Such instances should be limited and determined necessary for the operation of the new enterprise. 

In cases where it comes to the Department's attention that a client is out of the State without prior approval the claim shall be suspended initially and depending on the circumstances terminated and overpayments raised where appropriate (Note 2) . The JA/JB holiday rule states 'a person may receive payment for two weeks holidays (i.e. 12 days excluding Sundays) in any calendar year. These holidays may be taken abroad’. Any trip in excess of the holiday rule may result in suspension of a claim and payments for the periods involved. In all instances absences from the State must be notified to the Intreo Centre (Maintenance Area)

 
Note 1: Mitigating circumstances can include a long-term illness or injury requiring prolonged absence from work, the serious illness of an immediate family member requiring the participant undertaking a caring responsibility.  
 
Note 2: In line with policy of the  primary payment of entitlement.
 

In the main, a reasonable business trip shall be classified as being in the region of 2/3days. This provision applies to all BTWEA claims. Any trips in excess of this will be at the discretion of a DEASP Officer to approve and supporting evidence should be available to confirm the nature of the trip abroad.  

Participation in the BTWEA can be periodically reviewed, to confirm that the conditions of entitlement continue to be satisfied. A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement. This may include a request for proof of residency in the state.

Unnotified periods spent outside of the state may lead to a termination of BTWEA payments. 

3.5 Resumptions 

Persons are generally allowed to resume the BTWEA once where the BTWEA ceased due to mitigating circumstances (Note 3) which are outside the control of claimant. A resumption must always be in respect of the enterprise originally approved for BTWEA. In exceptional cases and with due explanation, an applicant may be allowed resume the BTWEA for a second time provided there is less than five years since the claim was withdrawn.   

Where this occurs, persons resume BTWEA where they left off. Once entitlement to the allowance has been previously established it is not necessary to receive a qualifying payment for a specified period. However, it is necessary to be in receipt of a Social Welfare payment immediately prior to recommencing self-employment. The rate of payment is based on first qualifying Social Welfare claim. 

Note 3: Mitigating circumstances can include a long-term illness or injury requiring prolonged absence from work, the serious illness of an immediate family member requiring the participant undertaking a caring responsibility. It does not include commencement of other employment.

3.6 Re-qualify 

A claimant who has previously participated in the BTWEA scheme may re-apply for BTWEA after a period of five years has elapsed since their previous BTWEA claim closed. The new claim may be in respect of a similar enterprise provided it is five years since that business ceased trading and they satisfy the current qualification criteria for the scheme.

 

3.7 Data Protection/Freedom of Information 

Staff are required to ensure that all information and personal data received in respect of BTWEA, (to include application, monitoring and control processes) are treated in a confidential and secure manner. Case Officers and Deciding Officers should note that formal arrangements are in place for the exchange of information with other Government Departments /Agencies in accordance with the law.  

 

General Information (BTWEA/STEA) 

4.1 Overview 

This section deals with information that is common to all BTWEA/STEA applications.

 

4.2 Definition of a new business 

BTWEA/STEA is a support to qualifying participants wishing to take that first step into self-employment. It assists in alleviating the risks involved with a new venture and provides an element of financial security along with business mentoring and supports.

The BTWEA/STEA should only be used to offer support to a new enterprise that is tradable and tangible. The enterprise should not be a business that is bought, inherited or otherwise acquired. Where a business proposal does not involve the setting up of a new enterprise, it will not be eligible for BTWEA/STEA support.

This includes businesses setting up under an already market-established brand (franchises or self-employed sales) or a business that has been operational prior to the application for BTWEA (being taken over by the participant or trading under the participant’s management). BTWEA provides new enterprises with guaranteed income and therefore mitigates risk. This is not necessary where the venture is not a new enterprise as such a business can base its income potential from past experiences, thus mitigating the financial risks associated with commencing a new enterprise.
 

In some cases it may be appropriate for a claimant to have a pre-existing enterprise for a period of up to 3 months prior to the commencement of BTWEA to conduct market research. This period should coincide with the business planning and preparatory work required in approving the new enterprise for BTWEA. Market research should not extend beyond 3 months except where formally agreed, in writing, by a DEASP Officer.

There should be no substantial trading by the new enterprise during this period and any enterprises set-up for periods greater than 3 months (except where pre-approved by a DEASP Officer) will not be eligible for consideration for BTWEA.
 

4.3 Examination of suitability to BTWEA/STEA

Prior to referring a new applicant to a Local Development Company a Case Officer should conduct a brief initial assessment with the claimant to assess their suitability for the BTWEA scheme in line with their progression plan.  The initial assessment meeting (15 minutes approx.) should be conducted face-to-face and should cover: 
  • the claimant’s business proposition, and whether their business idea has a reasonable chance of success;
  • whether the claimant is likely to be able to produce a Business Plan within 8-12 weeks (unless pre-approved by a DEASP Officer that a longer period is required); and,
  • whether the claimant has a reasonable chance of launching a business and succeeding in self-employment, including considerations of the local economy,
  • Skill-level & relevant qualifications (if applicable). 

4.4 What a Case Officer should consider during the initial meeting 

The following issues should be considered when assessing a client’s suitability to BTWEA. Where there are concerns surrounding any of these areas the Client may still progress to Business Planning through the LDC and any concerns raised should be highlighted and addressed in the final application and business plan:  

  • 1. Sustainability
 In cases where a business based on joint ownership is proposed (e.g. partnership), the Case Officer will allow to progress with the LDC but document any concerns on financial sustainability to be decided upon following a LDC recommendation. This also applies to a claimant looking to commence a new enterprise where they are currently in receipt of dependant payments on their claim.
 
  • 2. Employment & Business Sector 

In addition to 4.2 the following should be considered. BTWEA/STEA is paid upon the commencement of a new enterprise and is designed to help participants build up their business. BTWEA is not appropriate for a claimant who is taking a job offered by an organisation on a self-employed basis (see 4.18) or for a claimant looking to set up a business under a franchise or existing company name (examples of this include but are not limited to: insurance sales, sub-contracting work, bread delivery). 

  • 3. Displacement 

BTWEA/STEA should not be considered where the supported new enterprise will likely cause displacement i.e. provide an unfair trading advantage over local competitors as a result of DEASP support. The judgement on displacement is at the discretion of the local DEASP Officer in consultation with the LDC enterprise officer as they are best placed to observe the enterprise sector. If displacement is a concern at the early stage of the process, the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate why the new enterprise will not cause displacement.

 

The central policy area cannot review an appeal of a refusal on the grounds of discretion as they will not hold the local knowledge. 

  • Seasonality 

Seasonal, temporary or part‑time self-employment is not acceptable for the BTWEA/STEA. All business plans for a new enterprise should indicate year round income potential and operations. A person is not allowed enter into paid employment as an employee either in a full-time or part-time capacity while on BTWEA/ STEA. 

  • Competition 

Another consideration at the point of approval of a new proposal for BTWEA/STEA is market saturation. This will occur where an Officer will not see potential for business sustainability of a new enterprise proposal due to an existing high level of operation within that sector locally. One such example is taxi drivers, who are not supported under BTWEA for new business start-ups. A Case Officer may rely on the expertise of the LDC’s recommendation when considering the local market relevant to the new enterprise proposal. 

4.5 Next steps following Case Officer Assessment 

Following the initial assessment meeting and agreement that the participant is suitable for BTWEA/STEA, the participant should be referred to the local LDC as soon as possible to develop a business plan. A customer should be referred to the LDC Enterprise Officer even where s/he has prepared a business plan and completed a Start your Own Business course.  The LDC Enterprise should be given an opportunity to review and recommend the proposed enterprise. If participant is not eligible they should not be referred to LDC.  

Where a DEASP Officer refers the customer to a LDC they should provide a written referral confirming the customer’s eligibility and suitability (based on initial assessment). 

A Local Development Company should not begin to prepare a participant to set up an enterprise with the support of BTWEA/STEA without a written DEASP referral.  Where a participant contacts the LDC prior to notifying DEASP, s/he should be referred by the LDC to DEASP for an initial meeting with the DEASP Case Officer to confirm eligibility and examine the proposal having regard to the customer’s personal progression plan, where a PPP exists.  Any concerns in relation to suitability should be highlighted and addressed in business planning.  

All applicants for BTWEA must complete a Start your Own Business Course in order to be considered for approval to the scheme. 

A LDC Enterprise Officer will work with the participant while they are preparing to become self-employed (the pre Start-up Period) and support them in the early months of Trading (the Post Start-up Period). 

An enterprise that has been recommended for the BTWEA by a LDC should be accompanied by a business plan that must include sufficient information to demonstrate the viability of the business proposed. In the event that the LDC will not comment on the business to say whether it is recommended or not the onus is on the Case Officer to do so.

 

The business plan should include the following as a minimum:  

  • A full description of the business idea including how and where will trading take place. This will help give an indication of income and overheads.
  • Compliance with statutory requirements (where applicable)
  • Any concerns highlighted by the Case Officer under 4.4 above
  • Business Financial Planning
    • Business cash-flow:
    • Incomings
    • Outgoings (Overheads such as insurance, rent, business rates, stock/equipment costs etc.)  

The participant will need to demonstrate that their Business Plan is viable and that the business has sustainability potential.  Income from BTWEA should not be included as part of the business cash flow or income projections.

 

4.6 Business plan approval   

A DEASP Case Officer must review the Business Plan submitted by the participant and consider whether the enterprise satisfies the criteria for the participant to move into self-employment and commence trading. The case officer must make a recommendation on whether the application should be approved or rejected by the deciding officer.  

The LDC Enterprise Officer can recommend to the Department that a participant’s business plan is of a suitable standard to be assessed. The Enterprise Officer should not be part of the final decision process of awarding a BTWEA payment. 

Where a BTWEA application is refused by the Deciding Officer, s/he must provide both the applicant and LDC Enterprise Officer with a written record of the decision setting out clearly the reason the application has been refused.  A Deciding Officer may seek further clarification from the applicant, the LDC Enterprise Officer or the Case Officer prior to deciding the outcome of the application. Customers can submit a revised Business Plan for consideration where an application for BTWEA is initially refused. 

When an application for BTWEA is approved the DEASP Deciding Officer should confirm this in writing to both the customer and LDC Enterprise Officer. A participant should ideally commence on BTWEA following the approval of their application. However, it may be necessary in certain circumstances to delay the commencement of the start date for BTWEA (i.e. until trading begins). This may occur where the new enterprise is awaiting confirmation of compliance with statutory requirements or availability of the identified premises for trading. The commencement date for BTWEA should be within 12 weeks of the award date, unless the Case Officer or LDC Enterprise officer can demonstrate that a longer period is required.  Where the customer does not commence trading within 20 weeks of the initial decision the deciding officer should review the initial decision and if appropriate re-affirm the decision to award. 

4.7 Local Development Company 

LDC’s provide a range of complementary supports to support people who want to start up or grow a business. The supports range from providing an initial "First Stop Shop" service where individuals can receive advice on the steps involved in setting up a business, to the provision of grants for feasibility studies, provision of financial support for the establishment of new businesses or expansion of existing ones and the provision of a range of soft supports such as training and mentoring.  

In addition, LDCs play a key role in supporting local communities and entrepreneurs to develop new business ideas and to enhance existing enterprises. Typical enterprise supports which LDCs provide, include enterprise training courses in areas such as starting your own business, business planning, bookkeeping, sales and marketing, costing and pricing, health and safety, online strategy, social media and one to one mentoring and support from Enterprise Officers.   

4.8 DEASP and LDC Collaboration 

  • DSP Case Officers and the LDCs should work together in examining applications for the BTWEA. DEASP Case Officers should utilise LDC expertise and ensure that there is no duplication of effort in the analysis of the applicant’s business plan. 
In this context, co-operation between the
  • Department and the LDCs - whereby the DEASP Case Officer & the LDC Enterprise Officer agree jointly (by means of an appraisal panel meeting or a similar process to be agreed locally) that the business is a suitable BTWEA proposal.
 

4.9 Role of the LDC Enterprise Officer 

  • Once the applicant’s eligibility to BTWEA has been established, to support the customer and assist with the business planning etc.
  • To consider issues of local displacement and market saturation, as outlined in Section 4.4;
  • To make a recommendation on the business suitability to DEASP; and
  • To provide ongoing business mentoring throughout the period of BTWEA and upon referral of a participant by a DEASP Officer. 

4.10 Communication 

  • The DEASP Deciding Officer should inform LDC Enterprise Officers of the outcome of the BTWEA application.  Where an application is not approved, the grounds for same should be clearly communicated in writing to the customer and LDC Enterprise Officer by the Deciding Officer.   

4.11 Claims 

Following approval as mentioned above applications are treated thus:  

Applications from those receiving Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Benefit, Jobseekers Transitional Payment (JST), Farm Assist, and One Parent Family Payment are dealt with by the Department's Intreo Centre/Branch Office.  

All other applications should be sent directly to BTW Policy Unit, Employment Support Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

Applications should be submitted 14 days before the self-employment commences, in order to be approved. In exceptional circumstances, an application may be accepted up to one month after the self-employment has commenced, provided that the claimant has signed-off or notified the department of the change in circumstances at the appropriate time and the claimant advised the department of his/her interest in BTWEA providing that a business plan has been prepared in consultation with a LDC Enterprise Officer. 

4.12 Decisions 

BTWEA Claims are decided at the Department's Intreo Centre/Branch Office for schemes administered by Intreo Centres. All other applications are dealt with by BTW Policy Unit, Employment Support Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.  

BTWEA/STEA Awards Processing:  

  • Claim is checked to ensure that all necessary details have been provided (e.g. bank details etc.) Incomplete forms must be returned to the applicant.
  • Claim is checked for qualifying conditions.
  • SWA details are checked on ISTS etc.
 

Note: Applications must be accompanied by:

A. Copy of Business Plan and 1 year Financial Projection
B. Documentary proof of registration with the Revenue Commissioners.

If all is in order: 

  • Decision Sheet is completed and the applicant is notified.
  • Reviewed after 312 days and BTW17 is automatically issued to Customer informing them of reduction to 75% rate for further 12 months.  

C. Recommendation for LDC/Case Officer. 

4.13 Requests for Review of Entitlement 

An applicant who is not satisfied with a recommendation of a Case Officer and/or a decision of a deciding officer may request in writing to have their application and assessment re-examined and reviewed. The request must state clearly the basis of the review being requested and enclosing any new evidence or any other information to address the reasons for refusal communicated by the Department. 

As BTWEA/STEA are administrative schemes, a re-examination and review must be conducted by an officer of the Department with relevant knowledge of the operation of BTWEA/STEA and not involved in the previous recommendation/decision or by a higher ranked officer of the relevant Intreo Centre. Divisions/Intreo Centres should put in place standard arrangements for dealing with re-examination and reviews of BTWEA/STEA recommendations and award decisions. BTWEA/STEA Decisions cannot be appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. 

The reviewing officer should examine the original decision and any new evidence/information supplied is examined taking these rules and guidelines into consideration in their entirety. The outcome of this re-examination and review should be clearly documented and clearly communicated in writing to the applicant and the LDC Enterprise Officer setting out in detail why the application has been awarded or refused and noting that all new evidence has been taken into consideration in coming to a final decision. 

(If BTWEA/STEA is refused based on the recommendation of the Case Officer, the review should be taken by another Case Officer or Area Manager in the Division attached to the relevant office.) 

4.14 Mentoring & Monitoring During Period of Payment 

Local DEASP Case Officers will continue to offer access to mentoring and other supports during the first 12 months following the approval of BTWEA. The DEASP Officer will meet with the BTWEA recipient twice during this period (on or around 3 months and 9 months from commencing the new enterprise) to ensure that the business is operating and trading in accordance with the business plan.

Records of these meetings should be logged on the participant’s Employment Support Record (ESR). Where the participant seeks additional training or mentoring (or a decision is made that extra training would be beneficial to the success of the enterprise) this should be arranged and supported through the Enterprise Support Grant or from the Local Development Company.  

As part of the review meetings in the initial 12 months of trading an Officer must seek evidence to confirm commencement of and on-going trading; this could include:  

  • Revenue registration & confirmation of Tax Registration No
  • Bank statement showing details of recent transactions/earnings
  • Invoices, purchase orders received/sent recently which are clearly in relation to the running of business
  • Order book or invoices detailing sales or turnover 

4.15 Business deemed not sustainable following 3 or 9 month review 

The Case Officer should issue a recommendation to the Deciding Officer to terminate the BTWEA claim if deemed not sustainable. 

The following options can be considered: 

  • Terminate BTWEA and revert to Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit payment or original qualifying payment.
  • Access to Jobseekers Allowance with means assessed.
  • Consider other supports that may be appropriate.
 

4.16 Part-time employment or education 

Participants are not allowed to enter into paid employment as an employee, either in a full-time or part-time capacity while in receipt of BTWEA/STEA. It is considered appropriate that if someone is approved for the BTWEA/STEA, s/he should be fully dedicated to the business and, therefore, not engaged in other employments. 

Accordingly, participants cannot pursue part-time or temporary employment while participating on the Scheme. This will ensure that clients are devoting 100% of their time to the business venture to maximise the chances of success. 

Participants may avail of education options which are short /part-time and conducive to the business needs. There are no further DEASP payments for participation in this Education/Training other than what is covered under the Enterprise Support Grant (ESG). (See Appendix 3)

 

4.17 Retained Fire Fighter 

A retained fire fighter is eligible to participate in the scheme.  A retained fire fighter will no longer have an entitlement to JB after they have exhausted the time spent on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance if s/he remains in self-employment. 

4.18 Subcontractors 

It's likely that those exiting the Live Register to the construction sector on a subcontracting basis are not pursuing a new business to the individual. BTWEA is available to assist our clients pursue a new enterprise set-up with the security of 2 years welfare payments. This security would be less critical to someone recommencing a business as they have awareness of their market risks and prior experience in the sector and if subcontracting, they have the security of reliable income. While they resume their business a jobseeker’s arrangement with means assessed may be more appropriate. 

When reviewing a new enterprise the tradability and viability of the enterprise should be examined. Ideally a client should have a sufficiently large and diverse customer base. However within the construction sector subcontracting is used as the norm for “employment”. The subcontractor is likely to have only one customer i.e. the principal contractor to whom they are contracted to. This one-to-one business relationship will usually last for the duration of a particular contract. In such circumstances it would be more appropriate to insist that the client exit the live register and take up their new employment opportunity rather than be awarded the two year BTWEA payment.  

The client base of a new enterprise may be difficult to establish on awarding a new claim for BTWEA. However if there are concerns following the business planning approval and awarding of the claim they should be investigated further at the engagements outlined in section 4.14. If a participant cannot display a wide and diverse customer base at this stage, or subcontracting is the sole business then a termination of BTWEA should be considered. 

Case Officers may wish to refer to the link below drawn up by the Revenue Commissioners which can assist in determining whether someone should be classed as an employee or self- employed http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/rct/determining-the-correct-employment-status-of-a-worker.html 

4.19 Business Structure 

How a client decides to structure their business is a decision for him/her to make. BTWEA/STEA supports a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company. If a client decides to incorporate a limited company then to be eligible for the BTWEA as a company director they must pay PRSI at class S. From 1 July 2013 proprietary directors who own or control 50% or more of the shareholding of a company, either directly or indirectly, are classified as self-employed and liable to pay PRSI at Class S - see link to information leaflet SW102 below. If any additional queries arise on the particular issue of directors and PRSI they should be addressed to Scope Section who deals with insurability issues. See link to information guide SW102. 

4.20 JobPath 

When the applicant advises that they wish to apply for BTWEA while participating on JobPath, s/he should be referred by the JobPath provider back to DEASP for an assessment and referral to the  LDC Enterprise Officer or Intreo Case Officer in area with no Partnership, as appropriate.  If it is determined that the business or person is not eligible for BTWEA, they are advised to continue their engagement with JobPath. If the person is eligible, following a Case Officer assessment, they are formally referred to the LDC Enterprise Officer, who works with them to progress the application e.g. register with revenue, develop the business plan etc. The JobPath referral should be paused by the Activation Support Team or the Maintenance Area of the Intreo Centre while this process is ongoing.  If the application is approved, the referral to JobPath is closed. A change of circumstances should be notified to JobPath to advise the Intreo Centre/Maintenance area. If the application is not approved, the person returns to JobPath at the point they left, i.e. they complete the remaining time from the date they were paused.  

4.21 ESF/YEI Requirements 

All forms relating to those under 25 years on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance should display the ESF and European Structural Funds logos along with a statement informing clients of ESF/ YEI involvement. All documentation must be available for inspection for at least 3 years from the 31st December after the client finishes on the scheme. This period may be extended by legal proceedings or justified request by the Commission. When the RSU roles out the scanning system this should be used to store the documents. (See Appendix 2)  

Rates of Payment 

5.1 Qualifying payments

 

This section applies to applications received from the applicants in receipt of one of the following payments: 

  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Jobseekers Benefit
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Jobseekers Transitional Payment
  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Person’s Pension
  • Carers Allowance
  • Farm Assist
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Widows/Widowers Non Contributory Pension
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit 

5.2 Rates of Payment 

The BTWEA is designed to provide a monetary incentive for people who are on social welfare payments to develop a business while allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their qualifying social welfare payment over two years – 100% in year 1 and 75% in year 2. BTWEA is payable for a maximum of 624 days. 

The STEA provides immediate access to those who have lost their jobs and qualify for jobseeker’s benefit (JB) and wish to set up a business.  Payment under the scheme is at the same rate and for the same duration as their entitlement to JB.   

Information on the current rates of payment is available at the following link:   
 http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/sw19.aspx   

Claimants coming from JA/JB are paid the appropriate portion of their latest JA/JB entitlement, including any age related payments as they arise. See also Maintenance/Review in Section 6 of these guidelines. 

Every applicant for JB waits three days from the day they make their claim for their JB to go into payment. They are then entitled to a maximum of 234 days payment. While waiting days may count for time on the live register, these three days are not to be used when establishing entitlement to BTWEA. 

OPFP's who have been in receipt of ½ Rate JB only receive 100% & 75% of their OPFP. (The ½ Rate JB ceases) 

BTWEA applicants previously in receipt of Maximum Pay JA (i.e. half the family rate) should receive 100% of their Max. Pay amount in year 1 and 75% in year 2.  As Max pay does not apply where a spouse/partner is in receipt of BTWEA, the spouse/partner of the BTWEA recipient will qualify for personal rate JA plus half rate IQC. 

While income from the enterprise will not impact on the rate of BTWEA paid, it will need to be taken into account in the assessment of means for the spouse/partner’s ongoing entitlement to JA. 

5.3 Extra Benefits 

Participants in the scheme may retain any secondary benefits they were in receipt of prior to participation on BTWEA such as Fuel Allowance or Medical Card provided they continue to satisfy the appropriate means test.

If a customer is in receiptany of the following payments, their ongoing entitlement should be reviewed by the CWO dealing with same: 

  • Back to School Clothing & Footwear allowance,
  • Diet Supplement, Rent Supplement or
  • Mortgage Interest Supplement
 

Household Benefits Package & Free Travel ARE NOT regarded as Secondary Benefits.

Recipients of Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance RETAIN their Household Benefits Package & Free Travel when awarded BTWEA. 

Recipients of Carer's Allowance DO NOT RETAIN the Household Benefits Package & Free Travel when awarded BTWEA.  

A person in receipt of BTWEA cannot claim Half Rate Carer’s Allowance; however a Qualified Adult of a BTWEA recipient may have an entitlement to Half Rate Carer’s Allowance in his/her own right

5.4 Tax & PRSI 

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is not subject to tax or PRSI. However, the income from self-employment may be subject to Tax/PRSI. 

The Short Term Enterprise Allowance is subject to income tax in the same way as Jobseeker’s Benefit.  

A customer may qualify for Start Your Own Business Relief which provides a two-year exemption from income tax (up to a maximum of €40,000 each year) for people who have been unemployed for at least 12 months before starting their own business. It runs from 25 October 2013 to 31 December 2018. Customers should be advised to contact Revenue directly in relation to same and to ensure that they are tax compliant. 

5.5 Payment 

People participating on the scheme are paid via weekly Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or Electronic Information Transfer (EIT). 

Invalidity, Disability Allowance & Illness Benefit payments may be restored to a person who subsequently wishes to revert during the lifespan of BTWEA provided they satisfy the medical condition pertaining to the illness related scheme which qualified the person for Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. 

Where a person is in receipt of Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and subsequently becomes entitled to the Survivor Contributory pension, the Back to Work payment continues at the single rate. No increase for a qualified child can be included. 

5.6 Continuing Payment after a Death in the Family 

If a person dies while receiving Back to Work Enterprise Allowance the payment can continue to be paid to the qualified adult for 6 weeks. Payment may also continue for 6 weeks after the death of a qualified adult or qualified child. 

5.7 Credits 

Since the person is in self-employment during the period on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, PRSI is payable at the appropriate (S) rate and credits are not awarded.

(However, Credits will be awarded to former recipients of Invalidity Pension for the duration of their BTWEA claim only).  

Control and change in circumstances 

6.1 Maintenance/Review 

The rate in payment is adjusted after 12 months from 100% to 75%. Claimants are entitled to the appropriate Budget Increases. Participation in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme may be periodically reviewed, to confirm that the conditions of entitlement continue to be satisfied. A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement or the appropriate rate of payment.

Following the participant engagements outlined in 4.14 (or where other notifications of a change in circumstances are received) the rate of payment may require adjustment. 

  • Adjustments can be made, when appropriate, in respect of increases / decreases for a Qualified Adult and additional Child Dependents (except in the case of claims based on a previous entitlement to One-Parent Family Payment or Carer's Allowance). In these cases a Qualified Adult Dependent increase is not payable since it would not have been payable on the previous and underlying entitlement).
  • Where a qualified adult takes up insurable employment including Community Employment, this will result in the BTWEA payment being reviewed and the rate of payment & means assessed in line with the primary scheme.
  • Where a spouse/partner claims a payment in their own right, no MAX PAY shall apply and both claimants should receive their full personal entitlements (subject to a person claiming JA satisfying the Means conditions).
  • If the self-employment ceases, BTWEA claimants are free to re-apply for their previous Social Welfare payment at any time. When a claimant changes address the BTWEA file should be transferred to the DEASP Intreo Centre where files are maintained.
  • If a BTWEA recipient claims any other Social Welfare type payment, except the Survivors Contributory Pension (SCP), the BTWEA claim should be closed immediately. However, if the Survivor's Contributory Pension is awarded, Back to Work will continue at the single rate. No increase for a qualified child can be included.

Where a BTWEA recipient ceases to claim BTWEA, the claim should not be purged from ISTS for at least five years.

 

6.2 Responsibilities of the Divisions/Intreo Centre’s 

In general, BTWEA payments should be examined annually – at 3 and 9 months.  Measures undertaken at divisional level will be supported by control actions undertaken by BTW policy unit.  

Failure by participants to comply with the rules and conditions of the scheme should result in termination of the BTWEA payment and, where identified, the raising of an overpayment or consideration of a prosecution where fraudulent conduct is suspected. 

The actions of divisional staff is essential in ensuring that such situations do not arise, particularly in respect of providing information and guidance to participants on the ongoing need to advise the Department of any changes that might impact on eligibility to the BTWEA scheme.
 

Primary responsibility for control and monitoring rests with the Deciding Officer and the Case Officer managing the application. 

 

6.3 Recovery of overpayments

Where BTWEA/STEA participants are paid amounts to which they are not entitled, arrangements for debt recovery will be pursued.  A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement or the appropriate rate of payment.  Where a participant has received BTWEA payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, which he or she was not entitled to receive, the participant shall be liable to repay on demand a sum not exceeding the amount of the money received.  
 

APPENDIX 1

 

Budget Changes since 1997 
In 1997, 1,000 places were provided on the scheme for people with disabilities (Disability Allowance and Blind Persons Pension).  

In 1999, the Scheme was extended to those in receipt of Carers Allowance.  

In 2000, the Scheme was extended to those in receipt of Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement and Pre Retirement Allowance.

From 1 July 2001 the scheme was extended, on a pilot basis (200 places) to those in receipt of Illness Benefit for 5 years or more. From April 2002 the qualifying period was reduced to 3 years.
 

In April 2002, the scheme was extended to persons in receipt of Widows/Widowers Non Contributory, Pension Deserted Wife's Benefit/Allowance, and Prisoners Wife's Allowance.

Provision was also made in 2001 to introduce a pilot scheme in - 3 Health Board areas to enable Long Term Unemployed return to work under the "Special Housing Scheme for the Elderly" and also their Unemployment Assistance @ 100% for two years. On completion the participant would have the option to avail of the Back to Work Allowance Scheme.  

From January 2003, the qualifying period for Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance recipients was increased from 12 months to 5 years.  

From 1 March 2004, the qualifying period for Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance recipients was reduced to 3 years. This only applies to persons taking up self-employment. The qualifying period for JB/JA recipients taking up work as an employee remains at 5 years.  

From 1 March 2006, the qualifying period for Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance recipients was reduced from 3 years to 2 years. This also applies to persons over 50 years of age in receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance. Other qualifying payments are not affected. 

Periods spent in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Direct Provision will count towards the qualifying period for Back to Work Allowance/Back to Work Enterprise Allowance provided the applicant establishes an entitlement to a relevant SW payment prior to commencing on the scheme. 

From 1 March 2007, entitlement extended to those who are in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance for 2 years or more at a weekly rate of less than €50.79 (Single) or €78.72 (Couple).

From 1 May 2009, the qualifying period for Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance recipients was reduced from 2 years to 1 year provided there is an underlying entitlement to JA. The duration payable for BTWEA was reduced from 4 years to 2 years, People who had previously participated in the BTWEA scheme and exhausted entitlement may be eligible to participate a second time after a period of five years has elapsed. The back to work allowance (employee strand) was closed to new applications from 1 May 2009. A new Short-term Enterprise allowance was introduced from that date and is linked to JB rate and duration.  

Budget 2017 introduced a change to the eligibility conditions for the BTWEA. From January 2017, jobseekers who take up self-employment are able to access the BTWEA after 9 months, down from 12 months currently.  This will enable access to the supports of the BTWEA to those wishing to commence self-employment at an earlier stage of their unemployment.  This provision was also extended to those in receipt of other qualifying payments (e.g. One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseekers Transitional Payment, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist.).

 
 

The European Social Fund and Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
 Policy Context  

The European Social Fund (ESF) is the European Union's financial instrument for investing in people. Its mission is, to help prevent and fight unemployment, to make Europe's workforce and companies better equipped to face new challenges and to prevent people losing touch with the labour market. The operation of the programme is governed under EU Regulations 1303/2013, 1304/2013, 821/2014 and 1605/2002.  
 

The ESF, with additional dedicated funding provided under the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) aims to assist Members States in their efforts to put their Youth Guarantee implementation plans in practice. The YEI is specifically aimed at tackling unemployment for those under 25.  

DSP’s means of supporting young people who are not in employment, education or training is to provide them with access to a number of employment and other work-supported  schemes. These include TÚS, JobBridge (including First Steps), JobsPlus and Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Schemes which will be eligible for YEI/ESF funding.

 

Proposed Expenditure and Refunds  

Expenditure relating to the under 25s on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme will be re-claimed from both the ESF and YEI on a tripartite basis; for every €300 of eligible expenditure, €100 ESF and €100 YEI (i.e. ⅔) will be refunded by the European Commission with the balance being funded by the Exchequer.  
 

The Department will reclaim these funds from the European Commission through the Department of Education and Skills (DES) as the designated Management Authority as part of the 2014-2020 ESF Operational Programme (OP). Appendix 4 contains a flowchart of the ESF financial management and control, reporting cascade structure.

 

Segregation of Roles and Responsibilities

Each area within the process is required to fulfil its respective roles in its respective part of the process. The key players however in terms of ensuring proper observance of the ESF/YEI requirements are the Scheme Areas and EU Funding Compliance Unit (EUFCU). The role and respective responsibilities are set out as follows:
 

Table 1: Roles of Sections

 
Intreo/LO offices are responsible to:

Responsible Person: Divisional Manager

  1. Ensure clients meet the scheme eligibility criteria.
  2. Carry out on the spot verification checks whilst schemes are running.
  3. Ensure client details are correct and complete on relevant syste​ms ISTS/CSS/PEX.
  4. Ensure publicity/communication guidelines and procedures from the scheme policy areas are followed.
  5. Ensure relevant documents are available for inspection by the bodies involved in the cascade (EU Commission, DES, etc.).
  6. Notify the EUFCU of any issues such as negative audit reports, review and known control weaknesses that may lead to YEI/ESF not being claimed.
  7. Notify the EUFCU of any overpayments relating to the YEI/ESF clients.
  8. Verify the claim data sent by the EUFCU is correct for each client.
  9. Provide signed assurances that the relevant procedures have been followed. EUFCU will supply the relevant form annually for this.

Scheme Areas are responsible to:

Responsible Person: Scheme PO

  1. Incorporate the YEI/ESF requirements into the relevant procedures with assistance from EUFCU.
  2. Communicate these procedures / guidelines to the relevant sections.
  3. Ensure the verification checks carried out by the operational units are sufficient to provide a high level of assurance for the claims.
  4. Input the claims onto the ESF system (currently being developed by DPER through e-cohesion), once relevant assurances are received.
  5. Notify the EUFCU of any issues that may lead to YEI/ESF not being claimed.
  6. Ensure publicity/communication guidelines are followed.

Accounts Branch are responsible to:

Responsible Person: Accountant

  1. Maintain financial records
  2. Notify the EUFCU of any issues that may lead to YEI/ESF not being claimed.

EU Funding Compliance are responsible to:

Responsible Person: PO

  1. Construct and circulating guidance for the relevant sections.
  2. Collate data for all clients to match claims.
  3. Circulate data to relevant parties for verification.
  4. Carry out verification checks to provide assurances.
  5. Ensure publicity/communication guidelines are followed.
  6. Aid Scheme Policy Areas in revising procedures to incorporate the YEI/ESF requirements.
  7. Submit claims received from the scheme areas with the relevant assurances to the ESF Managing Authority in DES.
  8. Co-ordinate monitoring visits from DES and audits by the Commission and the Financial Control Unit within DES.
 
 

Eligibility for Costs and Periods 

The table below sets out the co-funding arrangements with the EU for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

 

Table 2: Co-Funding Arrangements 

BTWEA
€1.550m
€1.550m
Payments to the clients are eligible. Equivalent to 100% of client social welfare rate in year one and      75% in the second year
1st Jan 2015 – 31st Dec 2017
   

Documents Required for Proof of Expenditure and Activities 

To support the ESF/YEI claims for these schemes the following proof of expenditure and associated documentation is required (either physical or approved scanned versions of documentation are acceptable).  The following list should not be interpreted as exhaustive:  

 

Table 2: supporting client documentation/electronic records to be maintained

 
Intreo/LO offices:

Responsible Person: Divisional Manager

  1. BTW2 application forms signed by clients.
  2. Proof of registration with Revenue Commissioners.
  3. Business plan as agreed with the relevant partnership body.
  4. Evidence of the client eligibility.
  5. Documentation setting out the rate the client receives per week/month and how it was calculated.
  6. Evidence of any change of circumstances and revise rate.
  7. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out

Scheme Areas:

Responsible Person: Scheme PO

  1. Documents showing in respect of each programme as appropriate the technical specification and financial plans, funding approvals,
  2. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out

Accounts Branch:

Responsible Person: Accountant

  1. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and EIT files with ability to identify individual client payments
  2. Bank statements showing payment of EFT and EIT from the Department/ Post Office
  3. Evidence that the aggregated amounts certified can be reconciled back to the EFT/EIT files and the agreed rate per client.

EU Funding Compliance

Responsible Person: PO

  1. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out
  2. Protocols and procedures to coordinate the co-funding
  3. Service Level Agreements with the  relevant scheme areas
  4. Service Level Agreements with the Managing Authority
  5. Activity Implementation Plans
  6. Data Protection Protocols
  7. Operational Units signed verification forms (Form B1)
  8. The Secretary General’s verification Form (Form A)
 


Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office should ensure that a checklist (Appendix 3) is complete for each BTWEA client under 25.  

Availability of Supporting Ducumentation

All supporting documentation for eligible expenditure submitted for ESF co-financing must be available for a minimum of two years from the 31st December after the final accounts is submitted to the Commission. This means that the documentation above must be available for inspection for at least 3 years from the 31st December the client finishes on the scheme. This period may be extended by legal proceedings or a justified request by the Commission.  

NO DOCUMENTATION OR ELECTRONIC RECORD RELATING TO THE CLIENT RECORD OR CLAIM MAY BE DESTROYED BEFORE THIS PERIOD HAS ELAPSED. 

The documents shall be kept in the form of the originals, certified true copies of the original, or on commonly accepted data carriers including electronic versions of original documents or documents existing in electronic version only. When the RSU roles out the scanning system this should be used to store the documents. 

 

Verification Checks and Audits 

Verification checks and audits are required by each level of the cascade including the operational units. These visits are designed to provide assurances that the administrative, financial, technical and physical aspects of operations are compliant with national rules and ESF requirements at every level.  

Verification visits by the operational units should already be a standard part of controls for these schemes and must be undertaken. However, the additional ESF requirement must be monitored during these visits e.g. publicity and document retention.  Further documentation on these will be circulated by the DES (the Managing Authority) to DEASP and will be forwarded to scheme areas as required.

 

Information and Publicity   

It is anticipated that DES will shortly issue guidelines regarding minimum requirements to ensure compliance with the information and publicity requirements. In the interim, each level of the cascade must take responsibility for ensuring that the Information and Publicity requirements are adhered to at their respective levels.

Ireland’s Structural Funds logo and the EU ESF logo (Appendix 5) must feature in colour if a project has received or will receive EU funding. These should feature on the following items produced in relation to the projects or schemes involved:

  1. Publicity/Signage
  2. Brochures/Literature
  3. Application/Registration Forms
  4. Reports
  5. Display/Exhibition stands
  6. Videos/DVDs
  7. Advertisements
  8. Websites
  9. Offer Letters, correspondence with project beneficiaries 
  10. Press Release
  11. Launches/Awards
  12. Posters
 

A statement advising clients that Back to Work Enterprise Allowance receives ESF and YEI funding must also feature on all such items. The suggested statement is:
The European Commission is providing co-funding to this scheme for participants under 25 years. The scheme is being backed jointly by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on an equal funding basis. You may be contacted by the Department or its agencies for follow-up questions relating to ESF/YEI

 

Data Requirements and Other Compliance Requirements  

The data requirements that must be complied with in order to attract EU co-funding are extensive. EU Funding Compliance is working to develop a system through which all relevant data can be captured electronically on entry to the EU-funded operation. Separate instructions will be issued later in this year when a system is in place.
Compliance for co-funding requires that all bodies in the ESF cascade should ensure that the ESF projects are in conformity with the relevant State Aids regulations. EU funding Compliance will monitor this to ensure we are compliant. A key requirement in this regard is compliance with public procurement stipulations. All bodies are responsible for ensuring that projects/operations are in compliance with all public procurement requirements for public spending at their level in the cascade. Public procurement guidelines are available on the public sector procurement website www.e-tenders.gov.ie. EU Procurement Directives can be accessed under the Rules and Guidelines on the EU procurement website: www.simap.eu.int.

 

ESF Checklist for Intreo Centres/ Local Offices/ Branch Offices 

This checklist relates to clients participating on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance 

Intreo Centres/ Local Offices/ Branch Offices should ensure that for these clients the following is available for inspection for at least 3 years from the 31st of December after the client finishes on the scheme. 

Part A (to be completed at Activation Stage): 

  1. BTW2 form signed by the client (stored physically or electronically).
  2. Evidence of registration with the Revenue Commissioners.
  3. Evidence of the client eligibility (See scheme guidelines).
  4. Evidence of participation on scheme.                                                                 
  5. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out.
 

Part B (to be completed at Payment Stage): 

  1. Documentation setting out the rate the client receives per week/month and how it was calculated.
  2. Evidence of any change of circumstances and revise rate.
 

Where relevant documents should have the Structural Funds’ logo and the ESF logo and these should be 58mm by 19mm. There should also be a statement showing that the scheme receives ESF and YEI funding.     

 

The suggested statement is:  

The European Commission is providing co-funding to this scheme for participants under 25 years. The scheme is being backed jointly by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on an equal funding basis. You may be contacted by the Department or its agencies for follow-up questions relating to ESF/YEI”  

 




Logos for Use on ESF Documentation 

 

The following logos should be used for all ESF/YEI funded activity with a minimum size of W: 58mm X H: 19mm as below: 

 

English versions: 

 

EU ESF Logo:

 

Irelands Structural Funds Logo: 

 

 

 
 

Irish versions: 

 

EU ESF Logo:


 

 
  

Irelands Structural Funds Logo:


 


APPENDIX 3

 

Enterprise Support Grant (ESG) 

 

 
Enterprise Support Grant provides financial support to jobseekers that are approved and awarded /commenced on the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance or Short Tern Enterprise Allowance.

 

Eligible Items for grant support as follows:

 

Category

Annual limit, €

Minimum contribution from applicant

Accountancy and related services including legal advice

Up to €500

20%

Advertising and marketing aids

Up to €500

20%

Business equipment

Up to €1,000

20%

Business training or mentoring (this can be offered free or at a reduced rate by Local Enterprise Officers (LEOs) or local development companies

Up to €500

10%

Business registration costs and fees

Up to €250

20%

Compliance, guidance and training

Up to €250

20%

Job-specific tools and equipment

Up to €1,000

20%

Office supplies and stationery

Up to €250

20%

Personal protective clothing and equipment

Up to €250

20%

Public liability insurance costs associated with setting up a business - no other insurance is eligible

Up to €1,000

20%

Short-term training on book-keeping, regulation, rollout of business plan, start-your-own-business and courses of training related to the start-up

Up to €500

10%

Signage

Up to €500

20%

Upgrading to premises where the premises is owned by the applicant

Up to €1,000

20%

Website registration, related services and production

Up to €500

20%

Combination of above in any 24-month period

€2,500

 

For those on Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA), payment is on a pro-rate basis €937 Max (9 months) and €625 Max (6 months).  

Public Liability Insurance is the only type of insurance covered under the ESG scheme. All other types, including vehicle insurance, should not be covered. 

Except for training/mentoring costs, claims should not be accepted or approved for amounts less than €100.   

Last modified:23/08/2017
 

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