Sick pay is now a statutory entitlement in Ireland on foot of the passing into law of the Sick Leave Act 2022. (The statutory commencement order has not yet been signed, however, so the legislation does not yet have practical effect).
All employees, part time and full time, have an entitlement to paid sick leave. This is known as SSP (statutory sick leave payment) and there is an entitlement to up to three statutory sick leave days per year, subject to certain conditions.
Statutory sick leave days can be taken consecutively or non-consecutively and the employee will need a medical certificate from a medical practitioner stating that the employee is unable to work due to illness.
An employee only becomes entitled to statutory sick leave days after 13 weeks of continuous service in the employment. The Sick Leave Act 2022 will not apply to employees who enjoy more favourable sick pay schemes as a contractual right from their employer.
Whether the existing scheme in the workplace is more favourable or not will depend on the amount of sick leave that is payable, the period for which sick leave is payable, the number of days that an employee is absent before sick leave is payable, the period of service required before sick leave is payable.
Statutory sick leave payment
The daily rate of payment under the Sick Leave Act 2022 is 70% of regular earnings up to a maximum of €110 per day. This may be varied in the future by Ministerial order and regulations.
An employee who cannot pay can apply to the Labour Court for an exemption for a period of three to twelve months. The employer will need to justify this application by showing its financial difficulties occasioning the application for exemption.
The Labour Court will look for an agreement between employer and employees.
Future increases of statutory sick leave days
There are plans to increase the number of statutory sick leave days in the future to
- 5 days in year 2
- 7 days in year 3
- 10 days in year 4
The Minister will have to take into account the state of the economy, the public interest, employee well-being, the impact on the economy, the views of representative bodies, and any other factors that the Minister considers relevant.
Employees on probation or apprenticeship can have their period of apprenticeship or probation suspended whilst out sick on statutory sick leave.
Employees may make complaints to the Workplace Relations Commission and can be awarded up to four weeks’ wages if the complaint is successful.
Check out the Sick Leave Act 2022 here.