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Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS)   

The WSS offers financial assistance to employers through three distinct strands, each tailored to address specific needs and challenges:

How it works:

The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) is designed to address productivity shortfalls for employees with disabilities, compensating employers for any reduced productivity. Discrimination based on disability is permitted if the employer can demonstrate significantly increased costs otherwise. Therefore, the WSS ensures that employers hiring staff with disabilities, whose productivity rates range from 50-80%, are not financially disadvantaged.

Under the scheme:

  • The DSP completes an annual review based on the performance of the employee in the previous 12 months
  • The employer must complete a productivity assessment form that certifies the employee’s productivity deficit
  • The DSP can conduct additional monitoring visits, without notice, to the place of work

Strand I: Wage Subsidy

Strand I provides a general subsidy to bridge the productivity gap for employees with disabilities, compensating for any shortfall exceeding 20% compared to their non-disabled counterparts.

  • Eligible employees must work between 15 to 39 hours per week.
  • The subsidy rate is €6.30 per hour (as of January 2022), calculated based on hours worked.
  • Employers can receive a maximum annual subsidy of €12,776 (as of January 2022) for a 39-hour workweek.

Strand II: Wage Subsidy with Additional Management and Supervisory Costs

This strand supplements Strand I by covering additional supervisory and management expenses incurred when employing three or more individuals with disabilities supported under Strand I.

  • The top-up payment is a percentage of the Strand I subsidy, ranging from 10% for 3 to 6 employees to a maximum of 50% for 23 or more employees with disabilities.

Strand III: Employment Assistance Officer (EAO) Grant

Strand III offers a grant of up to €30,000 per year to employers with 25 or more workers with disabilities under the Wage Subsidy Scheme. This grant aids in hiring an Employment Assistance Officer (EAO) to support these employees, with the possibility of applying for additional grants for multiple EAO positions, up to a limit of 5 positions per company.

Frequency of Payment:

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) issues a 'wage subsidy request' every 4 weeks to employers participating in the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS). This request lists all WSS participants employed at the workplace and specifies the due dates for WSS payments. Employers must record hours worked and gross wages paid for each employee over the 4-week period and submit the request online within 12 weeks of issuance. Paid leave can be included as hours worked, but WSS payments may be affected if the employee was receiving social welfare. Unpaid leave does not count toward WSS eligibility, and no subsidy is provided if no salary is paid by the employer.

How to Apply

To apply for the Strand I subsidy, employers need to complete the following forms and submit them, along with supporting documentation, to their local DSP Intreo Centre or a DSP Case Officer:

  • WSS Employer Application Form
  • WSS Employee Application Form
  • WSS Productivity Level Report
  • EFT Bank Mandate Form

Supporting documents include the company's Tax Clearance Certificate, employee contracts, and job descriptions (if available). Upon approval, employers will receive confirmation from their DSP Case Officer. In case of rejection, the officer may request a visit to discuss further.

For a seamless application process, reaching out to the relevant office in advance can be beneficial or check the following for more.

Department website: Info on Wage Subsidy Scheme

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