Moray’s Employer Recruitment Incentive

Moray Pathway MERI Logo low res-01


The Moray Employer Recruitment Incentive helps people with the greatest barriers to employment get jobs and stay in jobs. The Incentive is coordinated by the Moray Pathways Local Employability Partnership, funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Moray Council.

Employers from Private, Public and Third Sector Organisations can apply for this funding. It can provide up to £8000 for newly created job placements. The position created must be in line with the Fair Work guidance which you can find here. Employers who are successful receive the money direct.

Please note that this funding is only available until the end of March 2024. Employers must utilise their own funding beyond April 2024. MERI funding this year is limited, therefore approval is not guaranteed.

  • Employers may apply for up to a maximum of 2 participants.
  • Applications will be scored according to set guidance.
  • If accepted, the employer will be notified via email. They will also be informed of the grant amount (see table below for guidance).
  • Moray Pathways practitioners will endeavour to match the employer with a suitable participant. Additional information about the post may be required from the employer at this point.
  • The matching process will be open for 2 weeks. If there is interest, we kindly ask the employer to wait until the end of the 2 week period before making decision.
  • If matching is unsuccessful, the post will be advertised via our Moray Pathways website using our standard Moray Pathways application form. A link to the job advert will be sent to the employer to allow advertising via their own channels. Vacancy advert will be open for a maximum of 3 weeks.
  • Employers must have a participant in post within 8 weeks of approval. If this is not met, the grant offer may be withdrawn.
  • Employers should carry out an appropriate and fair recruitment process.
  • Participants must meet the criteria outlined within the Referral Form.
  • Once a recruitment decision has taken place, the employer should submit the Referral Form. Once approved, the employer will then receive a formal grant offer letter.
  • A Keyworker will be allocated to provide support/guidance and to oversee progress. Please note that payment of the grant is dependent on this support in addition to the receipt of relevant documentation.
  • Employees must be issued a contract, a copy of which must also be sent to Moray Pathways. The contract can be permanent or fixed term for a minimum of 6 months.
  • The employers will be required to pay an hourly minimum of Real Living Wage (currently £10.90). Employers should also keep in line with any government increases within Real Living Wage. Contracted hours must be no less than 8 per week. The maximum number of hours is 48 (40, if under 18 years of age).
  • Flexible / Zero-hour contracts are not permitted.
  • Employers are expected to invoice monthly (in arrears) for grant payment, although this can be flexible. Payslips must accompany invoices. Please note it can take up to 30 days from day of submission for payments to be processed.
  • The employer may also use their allocated MERI grant to claim for additional costs related to the employee (e.g. training, required clothing, equipment). Evidence of this should also accompany the invoice.

Contracted Hours

Grant Amount

8 – 20 per week


21 – 29 per week


30+ per week



All potential MERI placements must be currently unemployed and must fit one or more of the following criteria.

  1. Long-Term Unemployed (**see note below)

** Eligible Long-term unemployed participants are:

Individuals who have not been engaged in employment, training or education for 12 months or more and are experiencing additional barriers to securing employment (see table below for additional barriers). Please highlight at least one other additional barrier from table below if long-term unemployed:

Disabled, +/or D/deaf person (includes those experiencing mental health issues and those who have an impairment or long-term health condition)

Living in a household with children in poverty


Primary Carer

Gypsy/travelling community

Person with a conviction (including CPO’s)

Refugee or other granted leave to stay in the UK

Person aged over 50 years

Lone parent

People from Ethnic Minority backgrounds and racial groups, with a targeted approach informed by local population data.

Person living in the 15% most employment deprived SIMD geographies (see ESF Scottish Local Authority Employment Deprived Area Postcodes list).

Homeless person (including temporary or unstable accommodation)

Person living in an area defined as “rural area” or “very remote rural

Living in a jobless household

 Person affected by substance misuse

  1. Physical Health Condition / Disability
  2. Mental Health Condition
  3. Parent or Lone Parent with children experiencing poverty
  4. Young People at risk of not participating in learning, training or work (e.g. care experienced). * Young people aged 15-25, or 26 if care experienced
  5. Minority Group
  6. Veteran

If you have any questions about MERI, please get in contact at


This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  For more information, visit UK Shared Prosperity Fund Website