Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Wage Subsidy Scheme

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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338. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full-year cost of extending the wage subsidy scheme to those in receipt of partial capacity benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44101/19]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) and the Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) schemes seek to improve employment outcomes for persons with disabilities.  However, they operate in different ways and with different qualifying conditions.  In particular, the WSS is a support to employers while the PCB is a support provided to individuals. 

The Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) scheme is designed for people who are on Illness Benefit, for at least six months, or on Invalidity Pension and who have retained some capacity for work and wish to work.  If awarded, PCB will allow them to continue to receive, in addition to their earnings from employment, a percentage of their Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment while working.  The personal rate of payment of PCB is based on a medical assessment of a person’s restriction, regarding their capacity for work, whether the person was in receipt of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension and their current rate of payment.  After the medical assessment, if a person's disability is rated as moderate, severe or profound their previous payment continues at 50, 75 or 100 per cent, respectively. 

The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) is an employment support to private sector employers, the objective of which is to encourage employers to employ people with disabilities and thereby increase the numbers of people with disabilities participating in the open labour market.  The scheme provides financial incentives to private sector employers to hire people with a disability for between 21 and 39 hours per week under a minimum 6 month contract of employment.

WSS and PCB are not currently payable in respect of the same employment.    

The estimated full-year cost of extending WSS to those in receipt of PCB is estimated to cost approximately €30 million in a full year.  There are currently 2,820 recipients of PCB.  The basic rate of WSS subsidy to an employer is €5.30 per hour giving a total annual subsidy available of €10,748 per annum based on a 39 hour week.

The above does not take account of any additional spend that might arise under Strand 2 and Strand 3 of WSS as a result of the additional employments.

My Department continually reviews its supports and schemes however it is not intended to change the criteria for the above supports.  

I hope this clarifies the issue for the Deputy.


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