Jobbridge, the National Internship Scheme Best Practice Manual


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Contents

  • Scheme Overview

    • Overview
    • Objectives
    • Legal governance
    • Elements of a Good Internship
    • Definitions
    • Freedom of Information (FOI)

  • JobBridge in Context

    • Role of the NCC
    • Role of the JobBridge Policy Unit
    • Role of the Intreo Office
    • Role of the Case Officer
    • JobBridge Forms

  • JobBridge and the Host Organisation

    • Eligibility
    • Number of Internships placements
    • Host Organisation Proces

      • Learning Outcomes
      • Finishing an Internship
      • Giving a Reference
      • Monitoring

    • Monthly Compliance
    • Extending a current Internship
      Host Organisations may apply to extend their current Internship from 6 months to 9 months by emailing jobbridge@welfare.ie, by providing the appropriate details and confirming that both parties agree to this extension. This must be completed prior to the proposed finish date of the Internship
    • Testimonials
    • Breaches of the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme
    • Exclusions
    • Payment of Participants
    • Further Terms and Conditions and Exclusions

      • Responsibilities of the Host Organisation:
      • Legal requirements
      • Garda Vetting and Sectoral Requirements
      • Specialist clothing and equipment

    • Leave and Rest Periods
      • Annual Leave
      • Sick Leave
      • Maternity Leave
      • Rest Periods
    • Workplace Problems with the Host Organisation or the Intern
    • Education and training courses while on an Internship
    • Advertise a JobBridge placement and a WPP placement at the same time
    • Internship from home
    • Taking on another Intern
    • Use of a WPP placement to cover the cooling off period for a JobBridge placement
      If an Internship finishes and the cooling-off period applies, a Host Organisation cannot advertise a WPP placement in the same area of activity, i.e. if an engineering JobBridge position has just been completed and there is a 6 month cooling-off period, the Host Organisation cannot advertise an engineering WPP position, but could advertise a receptionist WPP position, once they meet the eligibility criteria.
    • Financial incentives for employing an Intern

  • JobBridge and the Client

    • Internship Process

      • Finding an Internship
      • The Selection Process
      • Confirming Eligibility
      • Eligibility Criteria
      • Payment of Interns
      • Casual Employment
      • Duration
      • Hours of Attendance
      • Finishing an Internship early
      • Finishing an Internship

    • Standard Agreement
    • Mentoring of Interns
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Exclusion from other schemes
    • Exclusions
      Persons who are currently or have been previously members of management boards / held directorships within a company cannot participate in JobBridge with the same company
    • Compliance
    • Monitoring
    • Complaints, Investigations & Sanctions
    • Testimonials
    • Other Entitlements

  • Indecon report


Scheme Overview

Overview

JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, is a Government initiative designed to offer jobseekers who have a live claim and have been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance/ Jobseekers Benefit/ One Parent Family Payment/ Jobseekers Transitional Payment/ Disability Allowance/Blind Persons Pension/Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s contributory/non-contributory Pension/Deserted Wives Benefit/Deserted Wives Allowance or signing for Social Insurance Contribution Credits for at least three months (78 days) within the last six months the opportunity to enhance their current skills and develop new ones. JobBridge provides work experience placements for Interns for a six or nine month period. Its aim is to assist in breaking the cycle where jobseekers are unable to get a job without experience, either as new entrants to the labour market after education or training or as unemployed workers wishing to learn new skills.  Participation on JobBridge is wholly voluntary for both participants and host organisations.

JobBridge will provide at any one time up to 8,500 work experience placements for unemployed individuals in organisations in the private, public, community and voluntary sectors.

Participants in the scheme will receive through the Department of Social Protection, €52.50 per week (Internship allowance) on top of their equivalent existing social welfare entitlements. No employer contributions will be allowed.

JobBridge is part of the National Employment Action Plan (NEAP) and is being used by the Department of Social Protection as a means of activating unemployed people.

Objectives

The key objectives of the JobBridge scheme are to:

  • Keep unemployed people close to the labour market.
  • Provide unemployed people with the opportunity to gain quality work experience thereby increasing their employability.
  • Facilitate employers to contribute to the national activation agenda by providing Internships opportunities to the unemployed

Legal governance

The Host Organisation must be fully compliant with current workplace Health and Safety and all other legal requirements. The Host Organisation's Public/Employers Liability insurance and Motor insurance, if applicable, will cover any Internships on the programme. These are documents that all employers are legally obliged to hold and are not specific to JobBridge. The requirement in the JobBridge conditions that an employer must hold these documents is simply a restatement, for the avoidance of doubt, of national law.

Where these documents are not held the internship should be terminated immediately and the Policy unit notified.

The Internship must be in accordance with the Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work
(http://www.equality.ie/Files/Code%20of%20Practice%20on%20Sexual%20Harassment%20and%20Harassment.pdf)

Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 as amended
Status of Persons Participating in Certain Employment Programmes.
298A. – (1) the person who is engaged by another person to carry out work or perform any duty or service pursuant to a placement under –

  1. The work placement programme within the meaning of subsection (3) of section 142B
  2. The scheme administered by the Minister and known as the national Internship scheme, or
  3. Any variation, extension or replacement of a programme referred to in paragraph (a) or scheme referred to in paragraph (b)

Shall, for the purposes of any enactment or rule of law (other than the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work act 2005) be deemed not to be an employee of the other person to carry out such work or perform such duties pursuant to a contract of service.

Disqualification for benefit while participating in certain employment programmes.
247A.—a person shall be disqualified for receiving—

  • any benefit specified in section 39(1), other than death benefit by way of a grant in respect of funeral expenses, bereavement grant or widowed parent grant, or
  • Any assistance specified in section 139(1), other than a widowed parent grant,

during any week or part of a week while he or she is engaged by another person to carry out work or perform any duty or service pursuant to a placement under the scheme referred to in section 298A(1)(b) (inserted by section 16 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011).

Section 16 (3) of the Social Welfare and Pension Act 2011 states that participants engaging on the National Internship Scheme shall for the purposes of any enactment or rule of law (other than the Tax Acts and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005), be deemed not to be an employee of the Host Organisation

Elements of a Good Internship

Internships can be useful for all unemployed individuals who are interested in developing or maintaining work skills in order to try out a new career or to ensure their skills remain up to date and relevant.

Internships provide real world experience to those looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field. Usually short term in nature with the primary focus on getting some on-the-job training, Internships take what is learned in the classroom or in previous workplace settings and allow application in a workplace setting.

An Internship will provide individuals with an opportunity to put into practice skills they have learned during training and/or education, in a workplace setting, to enhance those skills, understand the workplace environment and context, and to benefit from a mentor or supervisor's experience and advice.

Maximum benefit will be gained when a supervisor or mentor is on hand to guide and manage the workplace experience, and ideally, to agree a set of learning outcomes that will be achieved at the end of the placement.

The work environment should provide practical tasks to enable the individual to apply the particular skills that they wish to learn or enhance, and also the opportunity to obtain wider product or service knowledge and establish networks for future employment.

An Internship will allow the individual to achieve some of the following objectives:

  • The opportunity to test interest in a particular career
  • The work environment to learn how to apply theory to practical work situations
  • To develop new skills / enhance existing skills that are directly applicable to careers
  • To enhance career prospects in chosen work area
  • The opportunity to develop personal attributes that contribute to effective interpersonal work relationships
  • To learn good general work habits such as time management and communication skills
  • To provide the Intern with a recognised statement from the Host Organisation regarding the skills learned or practiced, work attitude and aptitude together with relevant references

Definitions

Internship Scheme – The National Internship Scheme is part of the National Employment Action Plan (NEAP) and is being used by the Department of Social Protection as a means of activating unemployed people.

Host Organisation – Organisations providing Internship opportunities and participating in the Scheme are referred to as 'Host Organisations'.

The Host Organisation must be a legal entity and/or a charity recognised by the Revenue Commissioners (with a CHY number).

Internship – a 6 month (26 week) or 9 month (39 week) work experience opportunity delivered under the National Internship Scheme.

Intern – An Intern is a person who is availing of an Internship under the National Internship Scheme. They are not an employee of their respective Host Organisation as stated in Section 16 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011

Internship Allowance – refers to the payment an Intern will receive while participating in the Scheme. The Intern will receive €52.50 per week on top of their equivalent existing social welfare entitlements. No employer top-up contributions will be allowed.

All changes in circumstances must be notified to their local Social Welfare office as this may affect their social welfare payment

Internship week – will range from 30 – 40 hours per week. To be agreed between Host Organisation and Intern. For the purposes of the first and last week of the Internship, an Internship week must begin on a Monday and end on a Friday.

Placement – refers to the actual 6 or 9 month work placement the Intern will undertake in the Host Organisation

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Department because of the nature of its work holds extensive and detailed personal information about individuals. The Department has an obligation to these people to ensure that the information is collected appropriately, is maintained securely and is used only for the purpose for which it was intended.

Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation provide certain safeguards to the customers regarding the collection, storage, use of and access to personal information. It also imposes obligations on staff not to misuse or abuse personal information.

Freedom of Information derives from the following broad principles:
Decisions by public bodies should be more open to public scrutiny, thus providing greater appreciation of the issues involved in policy decisions and stronger public ownership and acceptance of decisions made
Those affected by decisions of public bodies should have the right to know the criteria used in making those decisions.

Every individual has the right:

  • To know what information is held in Government records about him or her, subject to certain exemptions to protect key interests.
  • To have inaccurate personal material corrected
  • To obtain the reasons for a decision which affects them personally
  • To examine and review the deliberations and processes of public bodies.
Legislation

The Freedom of Information act 1997 commenced on 21.4.1998 for Government Departments and Offices and certain other Government bodies and on 21.10.1998 for Local Authorities and HSE.

The Freedom of Information (amendment) Act 2003 came into force on 11.4.2003 and was updated on 14.10.2014.

Best Practice

Staff should advise clients that they must make their request in writing and state clearly that they are applying under Freedom of Information legislation. Staff, if necessary, will assist members of the public in making requests and filling out the FOI request form.


JobBridge in Context

Role of the NCC

The National Contact Centre (NCC) deal with application queries in relation to JobBridge – by phone and email.

PH: 1890 8000 24, which is available for calls from 9am – 5pm.
Dedicated email address: jobsireland@welfare.ie

Process

Application Form: When a Host Organisation registers their organisation via the JobBridge website, staff at the NCC validates the registration. Once validated a username and password is issued to the company. The Host Organisation is now a registered user and can now submit an online JobBridge application. All JobBridge applications are validated by the NCC. When successfully validated the Internship goes live on Jobs Ireland website an email automatically generates to the company to advise of same.

If the Internship is rejected, an email is sent by the NCC agent to the Host Organisation to advise them and to give the reason why e.g. insufficient information given in the advert, cooling off period applied or a company already reached the quota of Interns they are allowed. The e-mail notification sent by the NCC agent will inform the Host Organisation on the necessary steps to take in order to have their application processed.

Role of the JobBridge Policy Unit

The JobBridge Policy Unit is based in Goldsmith House in Dublin. They deal with all policy decisions in relation to JobBridge.

The unit have 2 dedicated email accounts –
jobbridge@welfare.ie and jobbridgecompliance@welfare.ie

The unit deal with all policy decisions in relation to the scheme and amend documentation to reflect queries or changes as they arise.

They keep the website up to date.

The unit are responsible for making each division aware of their target for monitoring visits each month. A 5% target is required for each division. All monitoring visits carried out are reported on by the divisions via the JobBridge SharePoint system. These reports are collated by the JobBridge Policy unit.

The unit liaise with relevant sections and are responsible for the provision of all stats in relation to the scheme.

The key responsibilities are:

  • Programme Management – decisions around programme rules, eligibility, issues including responsibility for addressing general queries, complaints etc.
  • Addressing public queries, whistleblowing etc.
  • Addressing compliance queries from Host Organisations and Interns
  • Answering written and oral PQs, Dáil motions, Leaders Questions, political reps
  • Providing JobBridge Reports/Data – Weekly Report, Ad hoc reports etc.
  • Responsibility for Policy/Programme Development/Website changes etc.
  • Responsibility for Programme Evaluation
  • Responsibility for Programme Monitoring
  • Preparation of Materials for Media Queries
  • On-going support to regions, NCC, Interns, Host Organisation, internal and external stakeholders etc.
  • Management and co-ordination of JobBridge PR/Promotional Events
  • Liaise with local and regional DSP offices regarding payment issues, operation of programme, changes to programme
  • Liaise with local and regional DSP offices re queries from companies and Interns e.g. with non or late payment €52.50 top up etc.
  • Freedom of Information queries in respect of JobBridge Policy
  • Any other legal issues that may arise

Role of the Intreo Office

Intreo is the new integrated employment and support service of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) which commenced in 2012. It is a one-stop-shop providing an integrated suite of services consisting of employment and income supports using a case management approach. It is a client centred service. Supports are specifically tailored to the jobseeker's needs, with the aim of increasing their employability and activation being a key priority.

The Intreo office is there to provide support and guidance to jobseekers. They should provide accurate information on internships to interested individuals.

The Intreo office clarifies any eligibility queries jobseekers might have and confirm the eligibility for the scheme.

When an Internship is extended, the Intreo Office is advised by the Regional Support Office and the proposed Finish date is adjusted accordingly.

Role of the Case Officer

Explore range of employment options and activation supports and advise jobseekers on selection and use of options and promote JobBridge as part of it.

Note: JobBridge Monitoring visits are a mechanism for engaging with local employers and advising them of the services the Department have to offer.

  • Promote DSP supports and services available to employers incl. JobBridge
  • Monitor employer compliance with JobBridge Scheme service conditions via monitoring visits
  • Provide matching service by assisting employers in identifying suitable candidates for available JobBridge vacancies from DSP database

JobBridge Forms

  • Eligibility Form
  • Standard Agreement
  • Evaluation Forms
  • Reference Template

JobBridge and the Host Organisation

Eligibility

In order for your organisation to participate you must comply with the following criteria:

  • An organisation, or a local branch, must have a minimum of 1 full -time employee who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI) in addition to the employer.
  • Be a legal entity and/or a charity recognised by the Revenue Commissioners (with a CHY number)
  • Have NO vacancies in the area of activity in which the Internship is offered.
  • The placement is not displacing an employee. N.B. The Scheme Administrator reserves the right to review cases where it is reported that this is the case and to make a determination for the purposes of JobBridge.
  • Have Public/Employers Liability insurance and Motor Insurance, if applicable, that will cover any Interns on the JobBridge Scheme.
    These are documents that all employers are legally obliged to hold and are not specific to JobBridge. The requirement in the JobBridge conditions that an employer must hold these documents is simply a restatement, for the avoidance of doubt, of national law.
    Where these documents are not held the internship should be terminated immediately and the Policy unit notified.
  • Be fully compliant with current workplace Health and Safety and all other legal and sectoral requirements.

Number of Internships placements

The total number of Internship places an organisation can offer at any one time is:

Number of Full Time Employees * Number of Internships
1-10 employees 1 internship place
11-20 employees 3 internship places
21-30 employees 4 internship places
30 + employees 20% of the workforce to a maximum of 200 internships whichever is the smaller
* Who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI)

Local branch offices of national organisations e.g. large retail outlets will not be regarded as an individual Host Organisation for the purpose of JobBridge.

The maximum number of Interns a Host Organisation can have, on the Scheme; at any point in time is 200 irrespective of the number of local branches they have.

Host Organisation Process

  • Host organisation advertises internship on www.jobsireland.ie
  • Candidate registers as Jobseeker and applies online the appropriate vacancy
  • Under the HO profile the candidate now appears under APPLIED on the internship and then company SHORTLISTS the candidate
  • HO offers the internship by clicking on 'offer' and the candidate moves to OFFER folder
  • An email is sent to the individual’s Social Welfare office for confirmation of eligibility.  When eligibility is confirmed the HO will receive a message with a request to complete the Standard Agreement where they (HO) will enter the Actual Start Date.
  • An intern received a message on their profile with a request to accept the terms of the Standard Agreement
  • The candidate has now moved to HIRED and the internship is 'In Progress'

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes will be agreed by the Host Organisation and Intern in the Standard Agreement before commencing the Internship. These outcomes must be agreed on the basis of the Internship as advertised.

Learning outcomes may be modified during the course of the Internship by agreement between the Host Organisation and the Intern in line with the basis of the Internship as advertised. Such changes should be included in a revised Standard Agreement.

A JobBridge Internship will allow the individual to achieve some or all of the following objectives:

  • The opportunity to test interest in a particular career
  • The work environment to learn how to apply theory to practical work situations
  • To develop new skills / enhance existing skills that are directly applicable to careers
  • To enhance career prospects in chosen work area
  • The opportunity to develop personal attributes that contribute to effective interpersonal work relationships
  • To learn good general work habits such as time management and communication skills
  • To provide the Intern with a recognised statement from the Host Organisation regarding the skills learned or practiced, work attitude and aptitude together with relevant references

Finishing an Internship

An Internship can finish early with one week's written notice on either side. In this event, the Host Organisation must log-on and enter the completion date and this must be a Friday. The Intern must notify DSP immediately.

Giving a Reference

In many instances, a reference letter will be requested by the Intern. The contents of this letter can be a key decision factor for other organisations when hiring.
In some cases, a Host Organisation may not wish to give a character reference. This may be because of company policy. In other instances, a referee may be unwilling to give a reference because the work experience has not had a positive outcome.

In all cases, a Host Organisation must provide a minimum reference, stating factual data of the internship.

Monitoring

The Department reserves the right to conduct monitoring visits over the duration of the JobBridge Internship. Monitoring ensures that the Standard Agreement has been signed and that the terms and conditions of JobBridge, including the terms of the Standard Agreement, are being adhered to by the Host Organisation and the Intern.

The Department of Social Protection is committed to the continuous improvement of all its service delivery.  The Department of Social Protection conducts on-going monitoring and review of all schemes.

Monthly Compliance

The purpose of the monthly compliance is to ensure that Internships are proceeding in accordance with the rules of the scheme. Failure to complete the monthly compliance may affect the Intern's Internship allowance payment and the Host Organisation's continued eligibility for the JobBridge scheme.

The Host Organisation must logon every month and complete the online monthly compliance for all Interns. The compliance is to verify that:

  • The Internship is being delivered as described by the Host Organisation, in accordance with the Standard Agreement.
  • The attendance of the Intern continues in accordance with the Standard Agreement.

Extending a current Internship

Host Organisations may apply to extend their current Internship from 6 months to 9 months by emailing jobbridge@welfare.ie, by providing the appropriate details and confirming that both parties agree to this extension. This must be completed prior to the proposed finish date of the Internship.

Individuals may avail of a maximum of 3 JobBridge Internships; however, the total cumulative time spent on the scheme cannot exceed 18 months (78 weeks). The maximum duration of an individual Internship is 9 months (39 weeks).

Testimonials

Host Organisations and Interns should consider sending testimonials on their experience of JobBridge to the JobBridge Policy Unit. The authors may be asked for permission to use these testimonials for publicity material or events, or to participate in those events themselves. These can be emailed to jobbridge@welfare.ie

Breaches of the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme

If the Department deems that a Host Organisation has breached the terms and conditions of the scheme, the Host Organisation may be disqualified from any future participation in JobBridge and the Work Placement Programme, or placed under more intensive monitoring for an indefinite period.

Exclusions

Excluded Individuals

The Host Organisation may not provide an Internship opportunity under the Scheme to an individual with whom they have, or had an existing or previous employment relationship. A Host Organisation cannot offer an Internship in the same area of activity that they have made an employee redundant.

JobBridge Policy Unit reserves the right to make exceptions in certain circumstances where a person has a previous relationship with the Host Organisation.  For example, if the employment relationship was a number of years ago i.e. more than 5 years ago.

Excluded Sectors

Currently placements in the apprenticeship/trade area (e.g. electrical, plumbing) are not allowed for JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme.

Care related Internships e.g. childcare, care for the elderly etc. should be processed in the normal manner. However, Host Organisations wishing to offer care related Internships cannot use Interns to displace the need for employees in cases where the Host Organisation is required by law (in the case of childcare) or by contractual commitments, to provide a certain ratio of staff to clients. As stated above, Interns cannot be counted towards meeting this ratio.

Excluded Organisations

Organisations that do not comply with the eligibility criteria, e.g., Sole Traders or Limited Companies who do not have a minimum of 1 full-time employee (employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI)) in addition to the employer.

Third Parties

Host Organisations are not permitted to direct interested applicants to apply to recruitment agencies or any other third parties on their behalf.

Recruitment agencies are not permitted to advertise Internship positions on behalf of any other organisation.

If any organisation is found to have contravened either of the above regulations, they will immediately be deemed ineligible to participate in this Scheme.

Payment of Participants

Host Organisations are not permitted to pay Interns. During the Internship, Interns will be paid an Internship allowance by the Department of Social Protection. This allowance is equivalent to the Intern’s current DSP payment plus an additional €52.50 per week. All changes in circumstances must be notified by the Intern to their local Social Welfare Office as this may affect their social welfare payment.

This top-up will be paid for the duration of the Internship but in arrears, and it is expected that participants will receive this top-up allowance approximately 2 to 3 weeks after commencing on the Scheme.

All payments of the Internship Allowance should be made via Electronic Fund Transfer into the Intern’s bank account, where possible.

Further Terms and Conditions and Exclusions

Responsibilities of the Host Organisation:

  • To provide valuable work experience - this will be described in the Standard Agreement when an Intern is selected.
  • To complete the required compliance checks
  • To assign a mentor in same area of expertise/experience in performing the duties expected of the Intern for the duration of the Internship as well as to provide the following:
    • on-going support
    • to be a point of contact for the Intern throughout the Internship
    • provide an induction
    • ensure the opportunity to learn/apply skills in the workplace described below  is available to the Intern
    • and they may also provide formal mentoring
  • In organisations where a formal mentoring system exists, Interns should be included in this process
  • At the end of the Internship, the Host Organisation must complete a Reference Form for the Intern to assist with their future job-search activities.
  • If an internship finishes, the host Organisation must log on and close off the placement on their online profile.

Youth Guarantee

Please note that in line with the Youth Guarantee and in compliance with EU funding requirements for all Under 25s engaging in activation programmes, a third original copy of signed Standard Agreement for all interns under the age of 25 must be forwarded to the Activation Support team in the local DSP Intreo office for their attention, once the internship placement commences.

For all JobBridge interns who are under the age of 25 a copy of this Standard Agreement must be kept for 3 years from the December of the year an Intern finishes a placement

Legal requirements

The Host Organisation must be fully compliant with current workplace Health and Safety and all other legal requirements.

The Host Organisation's Public/Employers Liability insurance and Motor insurance, if applicable, will cover any Internships on the programme. These are documents that all employers are legally obliged to hold and are not specific to JobBridge. The requirement in the JobBridge conditions that an employer must hold these documents is simply a restatement, for the avoidance of doubt, of national law.

Where these documents are not held the internship should be terminated immediately and the Policy unit notified.

The Internship must be in accordance with the Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work (http://www.equality.ie/Files/Code%20of%20Practice%20on%20Sexual%20Harassment%20and%20Harassment.pdf)

Section 16 (3) of the Social Welfare and Pension Act 2011 states that participants engaging on the National Internship Scheme shall for the purposes of any enactment or rule of law (other than the Tax Acts and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005), be deemed not to be an employee of the Host Organisation.

Selection of the Interns is carried out by the eligible Host Organisation who is actively reminded of promoting equality and prohibiting discrimination in recruitment on nine grounds as defined in the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2012. The nine grounds are gender (including gender identity), family status, civil status, sexual orientation, age, disability (including mental health), race (including skin colour, ethnicity and nationality), membership of the Traveller community, religion (including non-religious belief).

Host Organisations are also reminded that they must provide reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities and to ensure equality through preferential treatment or positive measures which promote equality of opportunity for people who may be disadvantaged because of their circumstances, or to cater for their special needs.

Garda Vetting and Sectoral Requirements

The Host Organisation has responsibility to ensure that the appropriate process is applied to placements that require Garda Vetting or other Sectoral Requirements. Interns must agree to comply with requests for Garda Vetting and other Sectoral Requirements where necessary, in accordance with the Host Organisation's policy.

Specialist clothing and equipment

It is the responsibility for the Host Organisation to provide an Intern with specialist clothing and equipment if required during the course of their Internship.

Leave and Rest Periods

Interns have the following Leave entitlements:

Annual Leave

Interns are entitled to all the Public holidays and 1.75 annual leave days per month of Internship. All annual leave must be taken during the course of the internship placement period, and interns will not be financially compensated for any leave which they neglected to take while on the JobBridge Scheme.

Sick Leave

The maximum cumulative sick leave permissible over the course of an Internship is 2 weeks (10 working days). Where an Intern has exceeded this limit, the Host Organisation shall terminate the Internship immediately. The responsibility is on the Host Organisation to record all sick leave.

Other Leave

Interns will also be entitled to time-off to attend job interviews or pursue job seeking activities through the Department of Social Protection/Employment Services.

Maternity Leave

Interns are entitled to suspend their JobBridge placement early due to maternity leave.

Rest Periods

The Intern is entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in every 24 hour period.

The Intern is entitled to at least one rest break during working time each day. The Intern should not be required to work additional time to make up time spent on rest breaks. The Intern is entitled to a break of at least 15 minutes after a 4 ½ hour work period. If the Intern works more than 6 hours at a time they are entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes, which can include the first 15-minute break. Breaks at the end of the working day do not satisfy these requirements.

The Intern is entitled to a minimum weekly rest period of 24 uninterrupted hours.

In cases where Interns may be engaged in evening work, they must not perform heavy or dangerous work for longer than 8 hours in any 24 hour period.

Workplace Problems with the Host Organisation or the Intern

Workplace issues should be resolved between the Host Organisation and the Intern.

If the Internship is not working out as expected the Intern and the person supervising/mentoring the Internship should discuss issues. If the issue is not resolved, either one can contact jobbridge@welfare.ie providing the following: name, contact details, the Host Organisation name, Internship title and brief outline of the issue.

Education and training courses while on an Internship

Interns on JobBridge, may engage in education and training provided by:

  • the Host Organisation, or
  • Part-time education and training courses, irrespective of length, and which are paid for by the State, provided that it does not have an adverse impact on the Internship.

Interns on JobBridge are not eligible to access:

  • Full-time education or training courses paid for by the State,
  • Other Department of Social Protection initiatives such as the Back to Education Allowance and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

Advertise a JobBridge placement and a WPP placement at the same time

Host Organisations can advertise a JobBridge placement and a Work Placement Programme placement at the same time, as long as they are not in the same area of activity, i.e. if the Host Organisation is advertising an engineering JobBridge position they cannot advertise an engineering WPP position, but could advertise a receptionist WPP position once they meet the eligibility criteria. The combined number of Interns and Work Placement Programme participants cannot exceed the total number of employees.

Internship from home

Interns cannot undertake their JobBridge Internships from home.

Taking on another Intern

If a Host Organisation wishes to advertise another Internship in the same area of activity a cooling-off period for 6 months will apply. However, the cooling-off period will be waived, where the Intern gets a job with the Host Organisation or another organisation at the end of their Internship.

Use of a WPP placement to cover the cooling off period for a JobBridge placement

If an Internship finishes and the cooling-off period applies, a Host Organisation cannot advertise a WPP placement in the same area of activity, i.e. if an engineering JobBridge position has just been completed and there is a 6 month cooling-off period, the Host Organisation cannot advertise an engineering WPP position, but could advertise a receptionist WPP position, once they meet the eligibility criteria.

Financial incentives for employing an Intern

Jobs Plus - Host Organisations may avail of the JobsPlus Scheme. Please see the Department of Social Protection website for information on the incentive and how to apply: www.jobsplus.ie


JobBridge and the Client

Internship Process

To apply for an internship individual needs to create a jobseeker profile on www.jobsireland.ie

Finding an Internship

Once an Internship has gone live on the Jobs Ireland website, it is also available in the Local Intreo centre. Host Organisations may also advertise their own Internships.

The Intern can log on to any of these portals to view availability. Interested applicants will apply directly to the organisation by the method specified in the advertisement or from their jobseeker profile. Alternatively, if an Intern wishes to acquire an Internship within a specific organisation, they can approach the organisation and inform them of JobBridge, and direct them to the website www.jobsireland.ie to apply as a Host Organisation.

The Selection Process

Each Host Organisation will decide how they select their potential Intern for the placement. For example, they may ask for a CV to be forwarded or invite the potential Intern to call for interview.

When the Intern makes contact with the Host Organisation about the placement, they will be told more about their selection process.

Confirming Eligibility
  • If the internship has been offered, and the Intern is currently one of the qualifying payments listed (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Jobseekers Transitional Payment/ Blind Persons Pension/Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s contributory/non-contributory Pension/Deserted Wives Benefit/Deserted Wives Allowance  or signing for credits ), the Host Organisation and the individual  will receive a message on their profiles confirming their eligbility. A message will also be sent out to individuals who are not eligible for JobBridge.
Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible to participate in JobBridge – the National Internship Scheme, an individual must be:

  • Currently be in receipt of one primary live claim only *(Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Jobseekers Transitional Payment/Disability Allowance/Blind Persons Pension/Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's contributory/non-contributory Pension/Deserted Wives Benefit/Deserted Wives Allowance or signing for Social Insurance Contribution CreditsJobseekers
  • And have been in receipt of same for a total of 3 months (78 days) or more in the last 6 months.

Time spent on Back to Education Allowance, VTOS, FÁS/Fáilte Ireland Training courses, Youthreach, FIT, Community Employment Schemes, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme, Back to Work Scheme, FÁS Job Initiative or Job Assist for the period from their 18th birthday, and not before same may count towards the 78 day qualifying period, provided:

  • The individual has completed the programme in full
  • Has signed back on to the Live Register and has a live claim
  • Is in receipt of one primary live claim as outlined above immediately before commencing on JobBridge.

An eligible individual can partake on a JobBridge Internship from ages 18 years up to age 65 years, the Internship must finish the Friday before the individuals 66th birthday. Commencement on the Internship is dependent on DSP confirming the individual's eligibility.

* See section 247A Social Welfare Consolidation Act. Which advises clients cannot be in receipt of an Internship Allowance plus another payment as specified.

JobBridge and Momentum courses

An individual must have completed a Momentum course in full, this includes the 6 month post-training job search period, before they can apply for a JobBridge internship.  The 6 month job search period does not apply to participants under the age of 25 years who wish to apply for JobBridge.

Payment of Interns

Individuals who are currently on a qualifying claim (see list above) and have been for 3 months (78 days) or more within the last 6 months will retain their current social welfare allowance (at time of commencement on the Scheme) plus an additional €52.50 per week top-up, which will be paid by the Department Social Protection for the duration of the Internship. This top-up will be paid in arrears and it is expected that participants will receive this top-up allowance approximately 2 to 3 weeks after commencing on the programme. All payments of the Internship Allowance should be made via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) into the Intern’s bank account, where possible.

There is no employer top up contribution. However, there is nothing to prevent a Host Organisation reimbursing an Intern for expenses incurred as part of the Internship.

Casual Employment

While on an Internship Interns, can commence casual employment without affecting their entitlements provided that it is not with the Host Organisation and it does not interfere with the required hours for the Internship.

Interns must notify DSP of changes in circumstances as they may affect their Social Welfare payment.

Duration

A participant can avail of a placement on an Internship work experience opportunity delivered under the National Internship Scheme (NIS) for a 6 month (26 weeks) period or a 9 month (39 weeks) period. It will be the Host Organisation who advertises for either a 6 or a 9 month placement. When the duration is agreed between Host Organisation and Intern, this will be reflected in the Standard Agreement.

Individuals may avail of a maximum of 3 JobBridge Internships; however, the total cumulative time spent on the Scheme cannot exceed 18 months (78 weeks). An Intern will not be permitted to do more than one Internship with the same Host Organisation. The maximum duration of an individual Internship is 9 months (39 weeks).

Hours of Attendance

A standard Internship working week will range from 30-40 hours per week. Therefore an Intern will be required to participate on the Scheme for a minimum of 30 hours or a maximum of 40 hours per week.

Finishing an Internship early

If an Internship is not working out, either party must give one week's written notice. The Host Organisation must log-on to their JobBridge account, and enter the early completion (Actual Finish Date) date immediately. This date must be a Friday.

Finishing an Internship

If a placement finishes early for any reason e.g. Intern gains employment, they should give the Host Organisation one week's written notice, and they must also notify the local Intreo Office. Failure to do so may affect their social welfare entitlement.

When a placement is completed, the Host Organisation must supply the Intern with a reference that will detail the professional development/learning outcomes and experience they have acquired over the course of the placement.

If an Intern takes up full-time employment, the Internship must end, and the Intern cannot recommence the Internship with the same Host Organisation.

Standard Agreement

When a Host Organisation selects a potential Intern, they complete a Standard Agreement to include details of the skills and experience the Intern will have the opportunity to learn and/or apply during the Internship. The Host Organisation will give the Intern a copy of the Standard Agreement that will be signed by both parties, and they will keep the original on file.

During monitoring visits the Standard Agreement must be available on site, and be fully completed. Non-compliance in this matter is seen as a breach of the terms and conditions of the scheme.

For interns under the age of 25 the Host Organisation must keep a copy of the Standard Agreement for 3 years from the December of the year an Intern finishes a placement.

In line with the Youth Guarantee and in compliance with EU funding requirements for all Under 25s engaging in activation programmes, a third original copy of signed Standard Agreement for all interns under the age of 25 must be forwarded to the Activation Support team in the local DSP Intreo office for their attention, once the internship placement commences.

Mentoring of Interns

The Host Organisation will also nominate an individual to support and/or mentor the Intern during the placement. This person must have expertise/experience in performing the duties expected of the Intern. The mentor will also have responsibility to ensure that the Intern receives a proper induction, ensure that the work experience as described in the standard agreement is progressing, and that monthly compliance checks are being completed (to ensure the Internship allowance continues to be paid by DSP). If an organisation has a formal mentoring programme, they should include the Intern in this programme.

Learning Outcomes

Interns on JobBridge may engage in education and training provided by the Host Organisation, or part-time education and training courses, irrespective of length and which are paid for by the State, provided that it does not have an adverse impact on the Internship.

Exclusion from other schemes

Interns on JobBridge are not eligible to access:

  • Full-time education or full-time training courses paid for by the State,
  • Other Department of Social Protection initiatives such as the Back to Education Allowance and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

Exclusions

  • Qualified Adults cannot participate in JobBridge nor can they use a spousal swap to become eligible. The only way for them to qualify is to get a jobseekers claim in their own name; however the standard 78 days must expire before they will become eligible for the Scheme.
  • Individuals who are Signing for Credits, but who are also in receipt of a Qualified Adult payment on a spouse/partner's claim, may qualify for the JobBridge Scheme, but will lose their entitlement to the Qualified Adult payment while participating on an internship.
  • Individuals, who are in receipt of a non-qualifying payment even if they are also receiving half rate JSB, are considered ineligible for participation on JobBridge.
  • Transfers from WPP are not permitted to NIS
  • Internships which require the Intern to work unsociable hours (shift/night work)
  • Individuals cannot undertake a JobBridge Internship from home.
  • Sole traders within the meaning of: Individuals who are in business by themselves.
  • Sole Traders:

    • OWN 100% of their Business
    • Are ENTITLED to 100% of its Profits
    • Are LIABLE for 100% of its Debts
    • Sole Traders register for ALL TAXES using their own PPS Number.

  • Companies who have made redundancies within the area in which an Internship is being advertised.

Persons who are currently or have been previously members of management boards/held directorships within a company cannot participate in JobBridge with the same company.

Compliance

The Host Organisation must log-on monthly and answer the following 2 questions to reflect that:

  • The Development Work Experience is progressing in accordance with Standard Agreement.
  • The Intern attended for the required number of hours for Internship Week in accordance with Standard Agreement and Terms & Conditions of the Scheme.

Note: A reminder to complete the monthly compliance is issued from JobBridge Unit every month

This return must be made each month in order to ensure the payment of the Internship allowance, and to ensure the Host Organisation's further participation on the scheme.

Monitoring

The purpose of monitoring is to ensure that the Standard Agreement has been signed, and is being adhered to by the Host Organisation and the Intern. Monitoring Visits are also a mechanism for engaging with local employers and keeping them up to date with supports etc. that the Department has to offer.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) is committed to the continuous improvement of all its service delivery.

DSP recognise that key elements of continuous improvement relate to on-going monitoring and review of all schemes.

DSP reserves the right to conduct monitoring visits throughout the duration of the JobBridge National Internship Scheme.

Complaints, Investigations & Sanctions

Complaints can be submitted to the Department in person, via telephone call, by email to qcs@welfare.ie, in writing or on-line at www.welfare.ie.

In the first instance, the Host Organisation and Interns should try to resolve matters locally.

If the complaint cannot be resolved, then the complaint must be dealt with in line with the Department's complaints policy.

Testimonials

Host Organisations and Interns should consider sending testimonials on their experience of JobBridge to the JobBridge Policy Unit. The authors may be asked for permission to use these testimonials for publicity material or events, or to participate in those events themselves.

Other Entitlements

  • JobBridge participants may be eligible to be considered for the Technical Support Grant For more information on this please discuss with your Case Officer
  • JobBridge participants are eligible to be considered for the fee waiver. For more information on this please discuss with your Case Officer
  • JobBridge participants can avail of afterschool childcare TEC (training and employment childcare) Programmes and CCS (community childcare subvention) programmes. More information available at www.dcya.gov.ie 
  • An individual's entitlements are unable to run out during an Internship. They are effectively frozen for the period spent on JobBridge.
  • JobBridge participants are eligible to be considered for a Back to Work Allowance once their Internship has finished.
  • An individual, who was receiving credits on their JA/JB claim prior to JobBridge, will continue to receive their credits for the duration of their Internship.

Indecon report

The Indecon, International Economic Consultant’s final report on JobBridge, was launched on 1st May 2013 by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister of Social Protection Joan Burton at the offices of LinkedIn in Dublin. It contains not only a comprehensive review of the scheme to date, but also includes recommendations on how JobBridge might be improved or expanded.

 

Last modified:28/09/2016
 

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