The details of the highly anticipated Sick Leave Bill (“the Bill”) were recently published by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment. The Bill will see the introduction of mandatory employer Statutory Sick Pay scheme (“SSP Scheme”) for the first time in this jurisdiction. The Bill provides for an entitlement to a minimum period of paid sick leave for all employees in the event that they fall ill or sustain an injury which prevents them from being able to work.
Currently in Ireland employers are under no obligation to pay employees while they are sick. The introduction of the bill will cover the shortfall for employees who do not have the benefit of an employer sick pay scheme and also the gap in coverage caused by Illness Benefit which required three days before an application can be made. The current system in place for employees is that after three days of sick leave an employee may apply for benefit of €203.00 (€350.00 if affected by Covid 19).
- The Bill provides for a roll out of the SSP Scheme over a four-year period with an incremental increase up to 10 days paid sick leave by 2025. The planned Scheme is as follows:
|Year||Paid Sick Leave|
- The SSP will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage. This will be subject to a daily threshold of €110.00, ensuring that employers are not subject to excessive costs in relation to employees on high salaries. The intention of the Bill is to provide a minimum level of protection to low paid employees, who may have no entitlement to company sick pay schemes.
- There will be no top up of salary from the State.
- The employer will deduct taxes in the normal manner.
- There will be no compensation scheme introduced for employers to assist them with costs of sick pay.
- An employee will have to be medically certified as unfit to work to avail of statutory sick pay
- The entitlement for payment of sick pay is subject to the employee having worked for their employer for 13 weeks.
Take Away for Employers:
The introduction of the SSP will have significant effect on employers. Employers should review their Sick Leave Policies and ensure that financial planning is in place to meet this new payment.
Authors – Ethna Dillon & Anne O’Connell