Supports for Employers
Vocational Guidance Service – all People with Disabilities wishing to enter the open labour market may call into a DSP Employment Service Office to meet with an Employment Services Officer who will provide them with full information, advice and guidance in relation to training and employment. There are specific employment supports for disabled people in the private sector.
Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS)
WSS provides financial incentives to employers, outside the public sector, to employ disabled people who work more than 20 hours per week. The Scheme is structured in three strands. The employer can benefit from one or all, simultaneously.
- Strand I subsidy - is a general subsidy for any perceived productivity shortfall in excess of 20% for a disabled person, in comparison to a non disabled peer. An employee must work a minimum of 21 hours per week up to a maximum of 39 hours per week. The rate of subsidy is €5.30 per hour and is based on the number of hours worked, giving a total annual subsidy available of €10,748 per annum based on 39 hour week.
- Strand II - is based on the total number of disabled employees in a company, an employer can apply for a grant to cover additional costs ranging from an additional 10% for 3-6 employees to a maximum of 50% of the wage subsidy for 23+ disabled employees.
- Strand III - is where 30 or more disabled people are employed, employers can avail of a grant of €30,000 per annum to assist with the cost of employing an Employment Assistance Officer.
The successful job seeking applicant is required to give up his/her primary social welfare payment on commencement of employment under this scheme.
Reasonable Accommodation Fund for the Employment of Disabled People
Reasonable Accommodation is a term used in equality legislation to define the framework within which an obligation is placed on employers and training bodies to take appropriate measures to accommodate people with a disability.
DSP operates a series of private sector employment supports to assist disabled people to access and progress in employment. These are now grouped under the umbrella name of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund
These supports could be outlined briefly as follows:
- Employee Retention Grant Scheme – ERGS is available to private sector employers when an employee develops a disability whether occupational or not. It provides funding to identify accommodation or training to enable the employee to remain in their current position or to re-train them to take up another position within the organisation. There are two stages to the scheme;
- Assessment, 90% of the costs of developing a retention strategy can be funded to a max. of €2,500.
- Implementation, 90% of eligible programme costs can be funded to a max. of €12,500.
- Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant – WEAG is available to employers in the private sector who need to adapt equipment or the workplace to accommodate a disabled employee. The maximum grant provided is €6,350 and covers minor building modifications such as ramps or accessible toilets; assistive technology; amplifiers for telephones, etc.
- Job Interview/Induction Interpreter Grant – JIIG is available to cover the costs of an interpreter up to a defined maximum for a three hour period for interview and induction purposes where an interviewee or new staff member is deaf, hard of hearing or has a speech impediment.
- Personal Reader Grant – PRGS is available to blind or visually impaired persons who are in employment and who need a Personal Reader to assist them with job related reading. Such reading is part of the employee’s duties but due to the nature of their visual impairment they cannot perform reading duties themselves. The grant to be paid will be based on a fee per hour, in line with minimum wage. Where there is a requirement for technically qualified readers, the fee to be paid will be looked at on an individual basis and may be higher.
Other Supports Available which are not part of Reasonable Accommodation Fund.
Disability Awareness Support Scheme – DASS
DASS assists the integration of disabled people into the workplace and helps to eliminate mistaken perceptions about them. It is available to all companies in the private sector who are interested in employing, retaining or relating to people with disabilities. Funding of up to 90% of development costs is available in the first year and up to 80% of costs in subsequent years with an annual limit of €20,000 payable to an organisation. To avail of this funding, however, development must be carried out by a DSP approved organisation.
All these employment supports are available to the private sector only. (Each Government Department or Agency must fund its own “reasonable accommodations” for employees with disabilities).
Supported Employment/EmployAbility Service
Supported Employment/EmployAbility Service is an open labour market initiative providing disabled people with supports to help them access the open labour market. It is implemented by sponsor organisations on behalf of the DSP who employ Job Coaches to provide a range of supports tailored to the individual needs of a jobseeker with a disability. The ultimate outcome is that the employee becomes independent of Job Coach support.
The EmployAbility Service is an employment and recruitment service to assist people with a disability to secure and maintain a job in the open labour market.
The EmployAbility Service provides a range of supports to employers and people with a disability, through Job Coaches. The range of supports include:
- Individual Needs Assessment
- Vocational Profiling and Career Planning
- Individual Employment Plan
- Job Sourcing and Job Matching
- On-the-Job Support and Coaching
- Advice and Support to Employers
- Follow-up Support and Mentoring to both Employers & Employees
Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme
The Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme commenced in in 2010 and was extended to 2011, provides exemption from employer’s PRSI in respect of any new and additional employees who were in receipt of certain social welfare payments. The exemption is for twelve months from the date that the employment is approved by the Department of Social Protection.
For more information, log on to: ‘www.welfare.ie’