Work Experience Options


A number of schemes exist to support unemployed people, and those in receipt of certain other Social Welfare payments, to return to work.

  • Community Employment (CE)
  • Tús – Community Workplace Initiative
  • Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)
  • Wage subsity Scheme
  • Farm Assist
  • Part Time Job Incentive Scheme

Community Employment (CE)

Community Employment – New Participants

Participants on Community Employment are not able to claim another Social Welfare payment while in receipt of a CE payment. On completion of participation on a CE scheme, you may be able to reapply for the payment which allowed you to engage with Community Employment.

Community Employment – Who is eligible?

You may qualify to participate in a Community Employment scheme if the following applies to you:

  • Persons aged 21 years of age or over who are currently in receipt (i.e. payment received within the 7 days preceding CE commencement (see note1) of any combination of the following payments for 12 months or more;

– Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) (See Note 1)

– Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) (See Note 1)

– Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition (JST)

– One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)

– Widows/Widowers or Surviving Partner’s Contributory Pension

– Widows/Widowers or Surviving Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension

– Deserted Wife’s Benefit (DWB)

– Farm Assist (FA)

Time spent in receipt of Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (BASI) can also count towards the 12-month period provided the claimant is currently in receipt of one of the above listed payments (i.e. no breaks between payments), e.g. 2 months on SWA followed immediately by 10 months on Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Time spent in receipt of Carer’s Allowance / half rate Carers Allowance / Carers Benefit can also count towards the 12-month eligibility period, but caring responsibilities must have ceased and the person must currently be in receipt of JA, JB or OFP.

Time spent on a CE-qualifying disability-related payment can count towards the 12 month period provided it is contiguous with the current Social Welfare payment, as listed above (i.e. no breaks), e.g. 3 months on Illness Benefit followed immediately by 9 months on Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Note 1: Persons successful at interview and whose payment/benefit has exhausted while awaiting Garda vetting retain their eligibility to commence CE. This saver clause does not apply where a person is disqualified from the payment or if they sign off voluntarily before their payment exhausts while awaiting Garda vetting.

  • Persons aged 18 years or over who are currently in receipt of any of the following payments from the Department of Social Protection (DSP);

– Disability Allowance (DA)

– Blind Pension (BP)

– Invalidity Pension (IP)

  • Illness Benefit (IB) for 6 months or more
  • Travellers aged 18 years or over, unemployed, and in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance for any length of time, or One Parent Family Payment for one year or longer
  • Refugees aged 18 years or over, as authenticated by the Department of Justice and Equality (i.e. Department of Justice letter of confirmation of refugee status plus valid Green Card or GNIB with Stamp 4) in receipt of any DSP payment for any length of time can qualify for CE.
  • CE Drugs Rehabilitation Places (DRP’s) are available to persons aged 18 years or over who are in recovery and referred for a rehabilitation place on CE. Application for a drugs rehabilitation place is based on evidence of an appropriate referral following an assessment of the applicant attending a recognised addiction support service within the last year within the context of the National Rehabilitation Framework of care and case management. This includes HSE addiction services and treatment centres, GPs and other relevant statutory, community and voluntary support services. The DSP 9 Point Agreement specifies the conditions for access, eligibility and delivery of the CE drug rehabilitation places
  • Ex-offenders aged 18 years or over and referred by the following agencies: the Probation Service; IASIO’s Services - the Linkage Service, the Gate Service and Resettlement Service; and the Irish Prison Service. Also, Ex-offenders aged 18 and over and not referred by these Services and in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit for a period of 12 months or more. Time spent as a prisoner is counted as reckonable when considering any duration of unemployment. In addition, prisoners released on Temporary Release are considered eligible for application for CE
  • Persons aged 18 years or over inhabiting the offshore islands that are currently in receipt of a CE-qualifying payment for 6 months or more. Islander positions will be reviewed annually and subject to demand and the number of jobseekers seeking activation

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Community Employment – Secondary Benefits

Community Employment – Rent Supplement

The additional €22.50 paid on Community Employment may not affect your entitlement to Rent Supplement.

Community Employment – Housing

The additional €22.50 paid on Community Employment may result in an increase in Local Authority rent (differential rent) or the amount of rent you must pay under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). 

Community Employment – Medical Card

You must hold a medical card prior to taking up Community Employment in order to keep your medical card when you go on CE. If you do not have it going on to CE you may not qualify for a medical card on Community Employment. On CE you will keep your medical card no matter how much you earn.

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Tús – Community Work Placement Initiative

Tús is a community work placement initiative providing short-term working opportunities for people who are long-term unemployed. The work opportunities are to benefit the community and are provided by the not for profit community and voluntary organisations in both urban and rural areas.

Tús is managed by Local Development Companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Gaeltacht areas, for the Department of Social Protection, which has overall responsibility for the scheme.

Tús — Random Selection process

Participants will be randomly selected from the Live Register and contacted by their local Intreo Centre/Branch Office and offered the opportunity to participate on the scheme.

Persons referred to the JobPath Service may, if they wish, participate on Tús Community Work Placement Initiative at the same time. If they agree to participate on Tús they will be referred to their local development company or Údarás na Gaeltachta where they will be interviewed and may subsequently be recruited for a suitable placement when it becomes available.

You can read more about the selection process on the Department of Social Protection website at

If a Jobseeker who is selected to participate on Tús fails to co-operate or fails to take up the offer, they will be referred for further action and investigation. As there are only limited places available on the scheme, not all those eligible will be contacted.

Tús – Self–Selection process

It may be possible to seek a placement on a Tús project as a self-selected participant. This is called an ‘Assisted Referral Application’, please speak to your Intreo Case Officer for more information.

Tús – Working hours

Participants will work for 19½ hours a week and the placement will last 12 months. In the event that the participant has not secured employment after their work placement ceases and if they are available for and actively seeking work, they should sign on again at their local Intreo Centre. They cannot be selected to participate on Tús again for 3 years.

To be eligible to participate on Tús you must be:

  • fully unemployed and in receipt of a jobseekers payment continuously for at least 12 months (A break of up to 30 days in the past 12 months may be permitted) and
  • must be currently in receipt of a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment, or
  • must be in receipt of Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment, or
  • refugees aged 18 years old, authenticated by the Department of Justice & Law Reform (Garda Registrar Certificate with Stamp 4) and getting Jobseeker’s Allowance payment -(no qualifying period applies).

Tús – Payment while participating

The rates of payment on Tús is linked to your existing Jobseeker’s Allowance with a minimum payment of €247.50. All Tús payments will be made by Electronic Fund Transfer into your bank account.

Since January 2023 the minimum weekly payment for participants (based on 19.5 hours worked) is €247.50.

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Tús – Secondary Benefits

You may keep any secondary benefits you had before you took up the Tús placement scheme, subject to income levels.

  • Rent Supplement: your income from Tús may affect the rate of your Rent Supplement. If you have no other income except your Tús payment, your rent supplement may not be affected.
  • Housing: Any additional income from employment, or self-employment, may result in an increase in Local Authority rent (differential rent) or the amount of rent you must pay under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
  • Medical Card: Applicants in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance for a period of 12 months or more are entitled to retain their Medical Card for three years on taking up employment from the date on which the employment commenced.
  • Fuel Allowance: Will not be affected by the extra €22.50 per week payment.

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Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)

YESS is no longer available. You may be interested in the new Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP).

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) is a work experience placement programme which is specifically targeted at young jobseekers aged 18-24 years of age who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment.


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Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme gives financial support to employers who employ people with a disability. Work offered must be for a minimum of 21 hours per week and up to 39 hours per week.

An employee with a disability on the scheme has the same conditions of employment as other employees.

These include:

  • social insurance (PRSI) contributions
  • tax deductions
  • annual leave
  • other leave entitlements

The employer must pay the employee at least the statutory minimum wage. These terms and conditions of employment should be set out in the employee’s contract.

Applying for the Wage Subsidy Scheme

Participants must be 18 years of age to partake in the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS). 

You can qualify for the WSS without a medical assessment if you are getting one of the following disability payments:

  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Disablement Pension awarded at 20% or more for life

The scheme is not available to:

  • Self-employed people
  • People on Community Employment schemes
  • Employers who avail of the JobsPlus Scheme

Applications Forms

Employer Application: Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS1ER)

Employee Application: Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS1EE)

Productivity Level Report Form: Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS2)

Contact Us


You can speak, in complete confidence, to an Information Officer in the Information and Advocacy section directly at 01 - 856 0088 , Monday - Thursday 9.30 am to 5.00 pm and Friday 9.30am to 4.00pm.


Use the online Contact Us forms on the INOU website