Firms may get bonus to retain interns and recruit jobless
EMPLOYERS WOULD be paid four-figure cash incentives to retain interns and recruit long-term unemployed people under two new schemes being considered by Ministers for announcement on budget day.
Companies would receive a retention bonus of about €1,000 if they kept JobBridge interns for 13 months after work experience was completed, while those who retained for the same period workers who had previously been on the live register for 1½ years would get at least double that amount.
Ireland’s unemployment rate stands at 14.8 per cent. The EU-IMF-ECB troika described levels of joblessness as “unacceptably high, especially among the youth” in its latest review of the State’s bailout programme last week.
The larger “lump sum” initiative to encourage the hiring of people who have been unemployed for 18 months or more would replace existing schemes offering employers PRSI relief. Although the savings possible under such schemes are considered generous, take-up has been low. Feedback from business organisations has indicated that one reason for this is that the schemes are regarded as complex by some small employers.
The payment of at least €2,000 to employers who recruit long-term unemployed people would be made in two phases. The first tranche would be delivered three months after the employee had been recruited from the live register, with the second amount due after 13 months. The 13-month period is to ensure employment rights are secured, thereby preventing any employers dispensing with workers after receiving the money.
The schemes are being designed between the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. No formal decisions have been taken but the initiatives are under serious consideration. They will need the approval of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The cost of the scheme to recruit long-term unemployed would be greater than retaining interns and consideration is being given to piloting the initiative for one year.
An independent review last week found that JobBridge, the national internship scheme, had resulted in 52 per cent of those who completed their work experience finding employment with their host organisation. Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said this was one of the best outcomes in Europe for work placement programmes.