Employers are to be encouraged to hire long-term unemployed people through a new Government-run scheme.

Under JobsPlus, companies will be given regular payments to offset the cost of employing someone who had previously been on the Live Register for more than 12 months.

The monthly payment will be made over a two-year period, which employers receiving €7,500 for those previously unemployed for more than a year and €10,000 for those on the Live Register for more than two years.

According to the Department of Social Protection, which will operate the scheme, this will cover almost a quarter of the gross minimum wage cost, including employer PRSI, of a full-time employee.

In order to qualify for JobsPlus, companies must offer full-time employment of at least 30 hours per week, spread over at least four days.

Companies must also be compliant with tax and employment law, while recruits must be on the payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI.