The Government has announced a number of changes to Community Employment schemes in a bid to boost the recruitment and retention of applicants.
The schemes are designed to provide long-term unemployed participants with work experience in their local communities to help them find employment.
"We now have record employment in Ireland with over 2.5 million people at work," said Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.
"While this is hugely positive it does present challenges for local schemes in terms of recruitment which in turn has a knock-on effect on the delivery of important local services in communities," she added.
The reforms will affect Community Employment (CE) schemes, Tús and the Rural Social Scheme (RSS).
The changes will extend the eligibility criteria for the schemes and will also provide additional flexibility to local supervisors when it comes to the recruitment and retention of participants.
There are currently over 19,000 participants on CE, almost 5,000 participants on Tús and just under 3,000 participants on the Rural Social Scheme.
Government investment in the three schemes will amount to over €500m in 2022.
Also today, the application process for the ex-gratia payment for CE supervisors and assistant supervisors is being opened.
These measures are in addition to previous changes introduced by the Government earlier this year which allow participants on CE and RSS who are aged over 60 to remain on the schemes until retirement.