FAQs ESF PEIL 2.9 - Gender Equality

This page will be updated with FAQs as they arise during the period while the Call is open.

We welcome queries on the Call for Proposals to "" quoting the relevant Fund in the subject line. Our aim is to respond to all queries within 3 working days. However, if the query is complex or requires us to consult with other areas, it may take longer. Note that we may not be in a position to respond to queries received by phone (unless they relate to routine process matters) to ensure that we can deliver a clear and comprehensive reply. Also, please ensure to submit your query in good time, as queries received shortly before the Application deadline may not be responded to before the deadline.


Click on the link below to access FAQs grouped under the following headings:







What objectives is the ESF (Gender Equality Activity (PR 2.9) set up to achieve?

ESF Priority 2.9 Gender Equality Activity contains two separate strands: a) Women Returning to the Workforce; and b) Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Strand A - Women Returning to the Workforce

In line with the Government’s ‘Action Plan for Jobs 2016’, the Department of Social Protection’s

strategy ‘Pathways to Work 2016-2020’ has identified a group of people “who, although not classified as unemployed jobseekers, have the potential and the desire to play a more active role in the labour force” as a key target for job activation measures. Women in this category are the target participants for this Activity.

Strand B – Women’s Entrepreneurship

The Government issued a National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in 2014 which recognises that ‘entrepreneurship is a key element in the health and wellbeing of any thriving economy and will be central to Ireland’s continuing recovery. The Global entrepreneurship Monitor 2014 Report for Ireland, reported that Irish men are 2.1 times more likely than Irish women to be an Early Stage Entrepreneur, and 2.4 times more likely than Irish women to be New Business Owners. The EU- 28 average ratio of 1.8:1 of men to women Early Stage Entrepreneurs suggest that there is still a pool of women entrepreneurs to be supported by this activity.


What types of activities can be funded?

Funding is available for two separate strands of activities: Strand A - Women Returning to the Workforce

To develop and deliver one or more training models to offer self developmental training in employment related skills on a part time basis to women who are currently detached from the labour market (i.e. not in paid employment but not registered as unemployed) and who are interested in entering/re-entering employment.

Strand B – Women’s Entrepreneurship

To develop and deliver interventions aimed at addressing the gender gap in entrepreneurial activity through targeted supports for women’s entrepreneurship.


Who can apply?

Public, Private and Voluntary Bodies are eligible to apply.


What are the objectives of PEIL ESF – Gender Equality Activity?

The broad objectives of the ESF are to help prevent/combat unemployment; to make Europe’s workforce and companies better equipped to face new challenges and to prevent people losing touch with the labour market through investment in education, skills and employment support. The PEIL 2014-2020 is the sole vehicle through which the ESF will be applied in Ireland during the 2014-2020 programming period. This OP takes into consideration and complements actions in the human capital area to be taken at EU and National level aimed at making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work, enhancing knowledge and innovation for growth and creating more and better jobs.

The Operational Programme in Ireland contains four Priority Axes comprising some 20+ specific activities. The Gender Equality Activity, the subject of this call is part of the Priority 2: Promoting Social Inclusion and combating discrimination in the labour market

Who are the target groups?

Strand A – Women Returning to the Workforce

-Women who are detached from the labour market (i.e. not in paid employment but not registered as unemployed)

Strand B – Women’s Entrepreneurship

-Women who can be supported to increase the rate of women’s entrepreneurship


What is the difference between Strand 1 and Strand 2 supports?

Both strands are targeted at Women; however there are differences in the participants to be targeted and the interventions that will be funded. Please refer to the Information and Guidance for Applicants document and the other questions on target groups and the types of activities that will be funded.


Who manages this Activity in Ireland?

The Gender Equality Activity is managed by the Gender Equality Division of the Department of Justice and Equality. The EU Funds Unit, Department of Justice and Equality will be managing the day to day administration of the fund on behalf of GED.


Is funding available for projects that operate outside of Ireland?

The geographical scope of the funding for activities in the 3 most recent calls are confined to intervention activities in the Republic of Ireland.


Can the projects start later than February?

The latest start for projects is 30 June 2017.


How much funding is available?

€5.5 million is available in this call:


What is the eligibility period for expenditure?

Projects will be funded for a minimum period of 1 year and a maximum period of 3 years.

Projects shall commence in the period from 1 February 2017 to 30 June 2017.

Expenditure will be eligible from the date of commencement of the project to a maximum period of 3 years


How is the funding linked to national policy promoting equal opportunities for women?

An employment rate target for women is set out in Europe 2020 and the EU Entrepreneurship 2020 Action plan set out a number of objectives. Your project should link the objectives set out in the ESF PEIL Priority 2.9 and the aforementioned documents


Will this be the only call for AMIF/ESF PEIL between now and 3-4 years time? The reason I ask this is because project duration can be from 1-3 or 1-4 years long depending on the fund. If a project was submitted now for a 1 year timeframe, am I right in assuming that no more funding under AMIF or ESF will be available until the 3 / 4 year timeframe of this call runs out?

There are no plans for further calls under ESF PEIL 2.7 Integration and Employment of Migrants (4 year projects) and the further calls for proposals under the specific objectives under AMIF and under ESF PEIL 2.9 Gender Equality will not take place until 2019 (indicative date at this stage). However, should the funding advertised in the calls launched 22nd September 2016 not be allocated in full the Department may review the matter at a later date.


Is there any scope to apply for funding across the strands?

There is nothing to prevent an organisation preparing an application under more than one Fund. It is precluded that a project action can be funded by more than one fund. It is acceptable to prepare an application that will have linkages but each application will be a distinct project. Each of the strands of funding will be scored and assessed separately. The 25% matching funding requirement under AMIF must not originate from any other EU Fund as this is specifically excluded by the Commission.


Can an organisation submit applications under each of the three calls (ESF PR 2.7, ESF PR 2.9 and AMIF)?

Yes, an organisation can submit applications under each of the calls provided the projects are separate and distinct projects.  The 25% matching requirement which applies to AMIF only, cannot be funded from any other EU fund.


Is it possible for one organisation to apply for 2 strands of funding, in our case the two PEIL ESF programmes?

Yes it is possible for one organisation to apply for 2 strands of funding so long as they are discrete projects.


What type of outcomes are envisaged for the participants?

A wide range of outcomes that improve the employability or entrepreneurship of women will be considered. Proposals must include detailed outputs and results that are intended to be achieved with the funding.

Successful applicants will be required to provide ongoing participant monitoring and evaluation data up to 6 months after the completion date.


What is the timeframe for implementing projects?

Projects shall commence in the period from 1 February 2017 to 30 June 2017. Projects will be funded for a maximum period of 3 years from date of commencement. Projects shall end no later than 30 June 2020. Participant data must be collected for 6 months after the final participant has completed participation.

Clarification is sought of the funds availability to marginalised women. Women who do not meet the habitual residence condition, women who are lone parents, are these eligible?

Strand B of the Gender Equality Activity is aimed at increasing women’s entrepreneurship and there are no restrictions on which groups of women can be targeted.  There are restrictions placed on groups of women who can be targeted under Strand A of the Gender Equality Activity – Women returning to the workforce. Women targeted for this activity can neither be in employment or registered as jobseekers, with the exception of those receiving JST.  Women in the home, who do not meet habitual residence condistions, rural and isolated women, older women, women with disabilities and lone parents are all eligible for both Strand A and Strand B once they meet the other strand-specific criteria.


If a woman’s partner is working, and she is classified for social welfare purposes as an adult dependent, can she be targeted for participation?


Are women moving out of direct provision considered as women detached from the workforce?

These women will be eligible provided they have status (leave to remain).


In relation to 'Strand A, Women returning to the Workforce, are we to target only those ‘not in paid employment but not registered as unemployed’ ? Can we target others in receipt of different social welfare payments e.g. lone parents, carers, family income supplement, widows, disability allowance or community employment. In particular can we target dependents of those in receipt of social welfare?

As you are aware 'Strand A' is aimed at women who are detached from the labour market, that is those women who are ‘not in paid employment but not registered as unemployed’.  When targeting participants, projects should also have due regard for the specific objective of the PEIL Gender Equality Activity which is  'to engage with the most disadvantaged groups, including those distant from the labour market, with a view to raising their skills, ultimately increasing their future employment prospects'.  

Yes, women who are classified for social welfare purposes as 'adult dependents' are eligible for targeting under Strand A.  In relation to other payments, women in receipt of social welfare payments that are not classified as 'job-seeker' payments and who are not working are eligible.  This could include lone parents on OPFP, carers, disability allowance and also can include lone parents on JST who are not working.  However, women in receipt of FIS and on community employment or TUS schemes are receiving employment-related payments and to receive them must either be employed or seeking full-time employment. This second category of women would not be eligible under Strand A.  


What sort of project monitoring and evaluation is recommended - internal or external?

Information on project monitoring and evaluation obligations to be met under the AMIF and ESF PEIL is available in Section 5 of the Information and Guidance for Applicants document. Any other project monitoring or evaluation is a matter for the applicant organisation.





Can projects funded under the last programme be funded under this new programme of funding?

This is a new Programme of funding. All processes and criteria for selection are new. There may be actions that build on previous project achievements. These Calls are not seeking to roll over funding from previous programmes.


Do all the partners need to be legally registered or is it sufficient for the lead partner only?

It is the lead partner who will sign the grant agreement, it is therefore sufficient for the lead partner to be the only legally registered entity.


Is it a condition of the call that an applicant organisation must have charitable status to apply for funding?

It is not a condition of eligibility for an organisation to have charitable status. If however, an organisation is a charity, it is a requirement for all charities to register as a charitable organisation.

Is there a preferred model for the application, either as a single organisation application or as a joint application?

There is no additional weighting or scoring for joint applications although geographical scope will be considered. It is acknowledged that the size of the budget is greater than previous funding rounds. A lead applicant is required to make the application.


Would it be better for a National Organisation to apply as the lead for Community Groups?

Grants are large and there must be a single proposal that meets the minimum grant amount. If actions are happening at the community level, the organisations are encouraged to collaborate in bringing together a range of actions that will meet the minimum grant application.


Can an organisation act as lead applicant in several applications under the same call? 

Yes, an organisation can act as lead applicant in more than one application under the same call as long as the projects are separate and distinct projects.


Is it possible to submit an application in a single capacity and also as a partner in another project?

Yes, you can apply both as a lead organisation and as a partner on another project.


Can Northern Ireland delivery be referred to as evidence of experience in question 4.2?

Yes, relevant experience of delivery of programmes in Northern Ireland can be used to indicate past experience.


Would it be permissible for an individual to be a participant in two ESF co funded projects i.e. SICAP and PEIL? For example, under PEIL, could a participant be referred from a SICAP funded employment mediation service to an action funded under PEIL. If so could the participant re-engage with the SICAP service having completed the PEIL intervention?

In principle, we cannot see any reason why participants in the PEIL programme could not also participate in other programmes. However, it will be important that the PEIL initiatives are clearly distinct, in their activities, projected outputs/outcomes, and their costs. It will be important for successful applicants to maintain detailed financial and operational records specifically for the PEIL programme (as described in the "Information and Guidance for Applicants" document), which are capable of being validated by EU Funds Unit, to ensure ongoing financial support.




The application must be made online, what documentation are projects required to submit at application stage?

Applicants are advised to read the Information and Guidance for Applicants very carefully before submitting their application. In particular, prior to submitting your application, you should refer to Sections 1.7 and 1.10 and the checklist of documents in Section 12 of the Application Form Part I. Please note that other than the required documents, no other additional attachments will be accepted.


When completing the Budget Cost (Application Form Part II) is it necessary to itemise expenditure every year or for the 3 years?

You are requested to itemise the budgeted projected costs for each year of the duration of the project.


What happens after I submit an application?

Applications will be assessed by project assessors in the EU Funds Unit and a report prepared for an Appraisal Committee. The Appraisal Committee will make recommendations for project funding to the Department of Justice and Equality. Notice will be provided to projects in December of the success or otherwise of their application.


Can applications forms be printed down, completed and returned by post?

No, applications for each of the calls will only be accepted online through the dedicated email address


What are the closing dates for the Calls?


Closing Date

PEIL ESF Integration and Employment of Migrants

12 noon, 3 November 2016

PEIL ESF Gender Equality

12 noon, 8 November 2016


12 noon, 10 November 2016


Is there a deadline for receipt of clarification questions for each project?

We have not set a closing date for queries, and therefore will attempt to respond to all queries received up to the closing deadline for the application process. However, we have a 3-day target turnaround, and therefore, cannot be confident of responding to all queries received within 3 days of the closing date for applications, particularly those which are more complex or may require us to consult with other specialist sections for advice.


If I can not fit all the information about my organisation's project within the word limits on the application form, can I either exceed them or send additional information in an attachment with the application form?

No, applicants should keep to within the word limit if possible and additional information on the proposed project attached separately will not be included in the application assessment. There are no plans to apply a very strict word count on applications. However, were it to be excessively over the limit, in the interest of fairness to all applicants, we might have to have regard for that in the appraisal process. Applicants are free to insert diagrams into the answer boxes.


The application must be signed by an Authorised Agent. Should this be the CEO or a Board Member or is this an internal decision for the organisation?

It is an internal decision for an organisation who signs off on the form but someone at the level of CEO, Board Member or equivalent level would be recommended - it should be someone who has sufficient authority within your organisation to deliver on the commitments made in the application form.


Is it acceptable to put charts or diagrams in the application?

Yes, the inclusion of charts and diagrams within the text boxes for answers on the application form (part I) is a matter for the applicant.


In reference to section 1.9 of the specification: ‘Successful applicants will be required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the Department of Justice and Equality’ – can you please advise where a copy of the grant agreement can be accessed?

We are not making a sample grant agreement available at this stage. A grant agreement will be forwarded to all successful applicants following the project appraisal process.


Section 2, question 2.2 refers to the “operational reporting requirements for ESF PEIL funds”. Is there a specific document outlining these requirements or is it referring to Section 5 of the Guidelines document? If it is a separate document, could you let me know where to find it?

For the purposes of Application, the information in Section 5 should be adequate. There are ESF Regulations, specifically EU 1303/2013 (Common Provisions Regulation) and EU 1304/2013, these along with some guidance in relation to PEIL are available on However, the level of detail in these regulations and guidelines is not necessary for the purposes of making an application. Should your organisation's application be successful, then EU Funds Unit will issue procedures documents for projects and work with you to make sure you are aware of and implement the necessary requirements.


Does the question in Application Form Part I Section 3, question 3.2 refer to EU and government/public service related grants only?

Section 3 refers to all grant funding received, regardless of the source. This question is to get an idea of the history of managing grants within the organisation.


In relation to Section 7 of the application form, the staff section only provides space for 3 members of staff – are we able to include additional text boxes if we have more than three staff delivering the project?

Yes if you are proposing more than 3 project staff you may include additional text boxes. 


Please can you confirm what costs you are expecting to see in Section 8 Project actions and outputs table e.g. does this need to include office rents, staff costs? Do the costs listed here also need to reconcile with those in the Application Form part 2 cost template?

If you have direct costs associated with an action (e.g. you hire a trainer and/or a room for a seminar), then that cost would be included in section 8. Indirect costs should not be included under the actions. There is no requirement either way to include or exclude apportioned direct staff costs.

On an overall basis, the "total cost of your project" listed under section 7.1 of the application form should tally with Part 2 of the Application Form. It is not a requirement that the total cost of the actions in Part 8 should tally with the total cost in Part 2.


Are we able to expand the project plan section of the application form to include additional outcomes or actions if required?

Yes it is appropriate to expand beyond the number of Outcomes allowed for on the application form.


Are there target numbers of participants to be met by the Programme?

There are target numbers for PEIL Gender Equality Activity.  These are specified on page 5 of the Activity Implementation Plan available at:  However, it should be borne in mind that these are for the Activity as a whole, both Strand A and B and across the entire programme including potential participants involved with projects that arise from a planned second Call for Proposals in 2018/2019.  The Information and Guidance document refers to specifying your project's target participant numbers in the guidance on completing Q 6.4 of the Application Form and Q8.3 Project Outputs.


Our project proposal has a number of different outcomes across a number of locations and partner organisations. Have you any guidance on structuring the Application Form Section 8 Project Plan?

All project outcomes across all locations and partner organisations should be listed in the same Section 8 Project Plan.  There is no limit to the number of outcomes listed at 8.2 and resultant outcome-related Actions and Outputs at Section 8.3.  You can indicate at section 8.2 if a particular outcome is to take place only at a particular location or be implemented by a particular partner organisation.  

Are childcare costs eligible?

Childcare costs are eligible and should be recorded as an indirect project cost. 




In the question and answer section it alludes to match funding of 25% yet in guidance notices it states that 50 % of funding comes from EU and 50% from Dept of Justice.  Could you please clarify?

The requirement for 25% matching funding is in relation to AMIF only. Projects funded under PEIL ESF will be 100% grant funded. This will be paid from the Department of Justice and Equality and is 50% funded by the Exchequer and 50% funded by the European Commission.


In relation to project costs under ESF PEIL, it notes in the guidelines that the total cost of the project should not exceed the total direct staff costs plus 40%. Just to clarify does this mean that it would be appropriate for the direct staff costs to equal 60% (or slightly more) of the overall budget and for all other costs to equal 40% (or slightly less of the overall budget)?

No, it's not a direct 60/40 ratio of direct staff costs to all other costs.  Your staff costs should be 71.5% and non-staff costs not exceed 28.5% of total project costs. 

The Information and Guidance Document states that "the total cost of your project should not exceed you total direct staff costs plus 40%.

In practice, this means when you have your "total direct staff costs" multiply this number by 1.4 which will give you the maximum total project cost which you cannot go above.  All costs should be apportioned appropriately and will be appraised for value for money.  The minimum grant amount is €200,000.



I note that there is a minimum amount of funding that organisations may apply for however is there a maximum amount set?

No, there is no maximum amount set.


Is guidance available on the eligibility of expenditure items?

The EU Funds Unit will be providing a guidance document dealing with the eligibility of expenditure items, for each of the AMIF and ESF calls, in advance of the sign off of grant agreements.

As a general rule of thumb, all necessarily incurred direct staff and project costs will be eligible for funding together wih apportioned indirect overhead and administration costs once these can be supported by a reasonable apportionment policy (ESF PEIL only - AMIF funded projects must have evidence of a commitment to provide 25% matching funding).

Categories of Cost

When drawing up your project budget you should seek to allocate cost to the most appropriate category as set out below.

Direct staff costs

All staff costs, including contract staff with a direct role in the project. Reasonable recruitment costs may also be included.

Indirect staff costs

Costs of administrative management and support staff

Direct project costs

All costs (not included separately in another category) incurred directly in operating / running the project


All shared office costs including light and heat etc. Being apportioned to the project.


All directly attributable administrative expenditure incurred on the project e.g. stationery.

Travel and subsistence

Travel and subsistence costs of Direct Staff


All asset purchases


All goods (including equipment below minimum asset value) purchased for use in its entirety in the project. No further use / value expected beyond the project.


All office rental cost and project activity room rental costs.