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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure IE-2021-29/1962 – measures in Ireland

New Pathways to Work strategy as part of National Recovery Plan

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 12 July 2021 – 31 December 2025
Context COVID-19
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 13 July 2021 (updated 14 July 2021)

Background information

On 12 July 2021 the Government launched a new national employment strategy - Pathways to Work 2021-2025. It is a key part of the wider national Economic Recovery Plan and aims to get people back to employment after the pandemic.

The strategy also seeks to support those who were unemployed before the pandemic, those looking to return to work or join the workforce and those facing additional barriers to work, in order to promote better job opportunity outcomes for all. It aims to ensure the Public Employment Service delivers effective services following the pandemic.

At the launch Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “As we recover from this pandemic, Pathways to Work is about ensuring we support and assist tens of thousands of our citizens in entering or re-entering the workforce.

“It’s about leaving nobody behind, providing new opportunities to retrain and re-skill and, above all, giving people the support they need to secure quality, sustainable employment.

Content of measure

The aims of the Strategy are as follows:

  • Get 75,000 long-term unemployed people into employment by July 2023
  • reduce the proportion of long-term unemployed jobseekers to 2.5% of the labour force in 2025
  • reduce the Youth Unemployment Rate from 44% to, or below, the 2019 average of 12.5% by 2023
  • improve employment rates of people from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds.
  • reduce unemployment durations by reducing the rate at which newly unemployed people progress into long-term unemployment back to, or below, its pre-pandemic level of 16% by 2023

Key elements of the Strategy include:

  • subsidies of up to €10,000 for employers who take people off the unemployment Register
  • new Work Placement Experience Programme to provide 10,000 paid placements
  • special package of supports for young people
  • 50,000 further and higher education training places to be provided
  • €1,000 Training Support Grant for jobseekers
  • focus on utilising Remote Working and e-Learning opportunities to help people into the workforce
  • new Pay Related Jobseekers Payment to be developed

The Labour Market Advisory Council will be asked to provide an annual report to the Minister for Social Protection in Quarter 3 of each year providing its view on the progress achieved and an annual review will be published in Q4 each year.

Use of measure

No information.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all businesses Youth (18-25)
Other groups of citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public employment service
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A



Views and reactions

Employers group Ibec has welcomed the announcement of the strategy. "Today's announcement is recognition that the foundation of economic recovery will be underpinned by investing in people, skills and talent," said Ibec Head of Social Policy, Dr. Kara McGann. "Business particularly welcomes the strategy’s focus on addressing youth unemployment, given the potential long-term scarring effects of the pandemic on this crucial cohort of the labour market, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID."


  • 12 July 2021: Pathways to Work: Government unveils ambitious plan to get people back to work post-pandemic (
  • 12 July 2021: Pathways to Work Strategy 2021 - 2025 (
  • 12 July 2021: Job seekers on work experience scheme to earn €306 a week (
  • 12 July 2021: Govt launches new strategy to get 75,000 back to work (


Eurofound (2021), New Pathways to Work strategy as part of National Recovery Plan, measure IE-2021-29/1962 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.