As a small business, one of the biggest challenges in trying to grow sales is recruting of new personnel due to the high costs of employment – not only in terms of salary, but also in terms of additional taxation and charges, and also sometimes additional cost of employee insurance, training and induction. That is why every little helps and grants and financial assistance in getting the job created can hopefully result in a sustainable employment that will pay for itself in the long run.
Here is the summary of the current incentives, schemes and reliefs a small business can avail of:
A list of Grants and financial assistance
FÁS Work Placement Programme
This Programme facilitates a business to take on a person for a work experience placement for a maximum of nine months. While the person is gaining valuable work experience they are also contributing to the business. If the business is in a position to recruit then they will have had the opportunity to determine the suitability of the participant.
Businesses in the Public, Private, Community and Voluntary Sector can apply to offer work placements. A Work Placement Programme application can be completed online.
Payment of Participants is not a requirement of the programme. Participants in receipt of a social welfare payment may be entitled to keep their payment for duration of the scheme. The number of placements a provider can avail of depends on the number of full time employees that business has.
The Participant and the Provider are required to complete Progress Reports during the placement. A monitoring visit will be conducted within two months of the commencement of the work placement. A subsequent monitoring visit may also be conducted either on a random sample basis or if considered necessary.
JobBridge National Internship Scheme
The principles are similar to those of the FÁS Scheme. In order to qualify for an internship an organisation 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 tax and PRSI). Employment liability insurance is also required. Monthly compliance must be filled online 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 internship can be provided for a period of either 6 or 9 months.
Payment of Participants is not a requirement of the programme. Interns will receive an allowance of €50 per week on top of their social welfare entitlement. This will be payable for the period of the internship. To be eligible to retain their payment the participant must have been unemployed and in receipt of some form of social welfare payment for at least three months.
County Enterprise Board Employment Grant
A grant of a maximum of €8,000 per new job created in respect of up to 10 employees in eligible projects. It can only be approved in case where it can be demonstrated that labour shortages do not exist. Employment grants cannot represent more than 15% of the Board’s annual grant approval budget. The business wishing to apply must submit Business Plan/Application Form and undergo approval process. They must submit evidence of PRSI paid and certification from accountant. Tax Clearance Certificate is also needed. The grant is usually payable in 2 instalments – first on Commencement of employment, and second after 6 months of employment.
NB: In Irish Speaking areas under the Employment Grants’ Initiative, Údarás na Gaeltachta may provide grant aid to businesses to cover the cost of employing staff on a full-time or part-time basis with the amount of aid payable varying with the required skill level and the related cost of staff. The geographic location of a project also impacts on the amount of aid payable.
Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme
This scheme exempts employers from liability to pay their share of PRSI for certain employees for a maximum of 18 months. The scheme is open to employers who create new and additional jobs. While waiting to be approved for the scheme, standard PRSI should be operated.
The person employed must have been getting an eligible social welfare payment for a period of at least 6 months (156 days). An eligible person directly from JobBridge or the Work Placement Programme once the required 156 days criteria has been satisfied can also be employed. The job must be a new and additional post/job – employers are not allowed to substitute existing employees to avail of the scheme, be for at least 30 hours per week and last for at least 6 months.
An exemption from employer’s PRSI is available for a limited number of employees. This limit is 5% of the existing workforce or, for smaller companies, a maximum of 5 new jobs.
Revenue Job Assist
Employers who employ people who qualify for Revenue Job Assist can make a double deduction of the employee’s wages from their company’s taxable income for up to 3 years provided that the employee remains with them. This means that double the amount of the wages of a qualifying employee and double the amount of the employer’s PRSI contribution for that employee can be deducted by the employer from the company’s taxable income. You can apply by filling out Part 2 of the form RJA (Part 1 needs to be filled by the employee). To qualify, the position must be new, last at least 12 months and for at least 30 hours a week.
Acumen Sales and Marketing Programme
Acumen will fund up to 50% of the cost of a full time Sales Person’s salary in the first year. The maximum cost covered can be up to €37,500/£30,000 with Acumen paying up to €18,750/£15,000. If it is required 50% of recruitment/selection/advertising costs for the appointee will be granted as part of the total allowable costs. The person recruited should be knowledgeable about both the product and the market, and would be required to be located within the target cross-border market. The company that wishes to apply for this programme needs to supply a business proposal and application form.
A part-time sales person position can also be supported. If it is required – 50% of recruitment/selection/advertising costs for the Appointee will be granted as part of the total allowable costs. The maximum cost covered can be €20,000/£16,000 with Acumen paying 50% and you paying the balance.
Third option is that of hiring a sales graduate for 12 months to grow the business into export sales. They will assess the market potential and develop a tailored strategic approach to exporting that can be replicated in any market. Acumen will fund up to 50% of the cost of employing a graduate in the first year. Maximum Salary cost covered can be up to €28,125/£22,500 with Acumen paying up to €14,065/£11,250. There are further allowances for Travel, Subsistence and Equipment cost and InterTradeIreland will cover recruitment and training costs.