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The Irish government believes employees are the most valuable resource of any business. Allowances are granted to businesses who hire unemployed or disabled people, in order to reduce unemployment rates and prevent people from becoming excluded.

Welfare supports for businesses reduce unemployment rates in Ireland, while providing businesses with a wider pool of employees to choose from. This facilitates a more diverse and welcoming workforce.

The department is committed to the promotion of active participation and inclusion in society through the framework of employment rights and the provision of income supports, employment services and other services. These provisions ensure that it will always be more worthwhile to be in work, than to rely solely on welfare alone.

The department reaches the most vulnerable people in our society, providing services and payments that assist people to find work and help to mitigate the financial hardship when work cannot be found or when people are simply unable to work.

Employment supports

The department supports a wide range of schemes and supports which encourage unemployed people to return to work. These supports are designed to help long-term unemployed people to return to the workplace.

There are a range of employment schemes and other supports which encourage long-term unemployed people to return to work. They are aimed at people who have been on unemployment or certain other social welfare payments for a specific period of time. Some schemes fund community and voluntary organisations to provide employment opportunities which benefit the local community.


Intreo is a single point of contact for all employment and income supports. Designed to provide a more streamlined approach, Intreo offers practical, tailored employment services and supports for jobseekers and employers alike.

Pathways to Work

The Pathways to Work strategy has the stated aim of returning Ireland to a state of full employment. It aims to do that in a time of economic recovery and prosperity by:

  • reducing what is known as 'frictional unemployment' - which is to minimise the amount of time someone is jobless and making sure that job vacancies can be filled as quickly as possible
  • to increase the amount of people of a working age (including people with disabilities and lone parents) who work which reduces welfare dependency

These aims are carried out by means of supporting services such as:

  • training
  • job search
  • financial incentives

Action Plan for Jobless Households

Adults in jobless households are not all 'unemployed' (which means available for and seeking employment) – they include people who are not seeking work for reasons such as disability or caring responsibilities. The Action Plan for Jobless Households sets out to extend services to help people who are not working, but are not defined as unemployed on the traditional measures.

Expanding the supports are offered Intreo such as

  • training
  • upskilling or reskilling
  • help with searching for a job

The plan also sets two new headline targets:

  • reducing the proportion of households that are jobless to 13% or less (from 18% in 2015)
  • reducing the share of the 18-59 population resident in joblesss households to less than 8% (from 12% in 2015)

Make Work Pay

Ensuring people with disabilities are supported to achieve their employment ambitions is a key aim of government. The Make Work Pay reportrecommended 6 key areas for the government to work towards in the coming years.

  • build skills, capacity and independence
  • provide bridges and supports into work
  • make work pay
  • promote job retention and re-entry to work
  • provide coordinated and seamless support
  • engage employers

Publications (28)

Cookies Statement

13 February 2020; Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; Publication;

JobsIreland for Jobseeker's

12 February 2020; Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; Publication;

JobsIreland for Employers

12 February 2020; Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; Publication;