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From January 1st 2023, a new piece of legislation came into effect – The Sick Leave Act 2022. Employers will eventually cover the cost of 10 sick days per year in 2026.

Do all employees not already get sick pay?

Before this legislation, there was no statutory sick pay (SSP) for Irish employees. It was previously at the discretion of employers to decide policy on sick pay and sick leave, subject to the employee’s contract or terms of employment.

What is the timeline of the sick pay?

The entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in over 4 years:

  • 2023 – 3 days covered
  • 2024 – 5 days covered
  • 2025 – 7 days covered
  • 2026 – 10 days covered

Who is entitled to receive the Statutory Sick Pay?

In order to receive the paid sick leave, employees must fulfil the following conditions:

  • Must be an employee and be working at least 13 weeks with the employer
  • Be certified by a GP as unable to work

Additionally, employees can receive sick pay if they are:

  • On probation
  • Undergoing training (interns)
  • An apprentice
  • An agency worker

When does the employee have to provide a Medical Cert?

Under the sick leave legislation, employees must be certified by a GP as unable to work to qualify for statutory sick pay. Employees should be certified from day 1 of your sick leave.

Employees have a right to SSP from the first day you are off sick. Employers cannot apply ‘waiting days’ before employees get statutory sick pay.

How much is the Statutory Sick Pay worth?

The statutory sick leave payment must be paid at the employees’ normal daily rate. Employees are entitled to 70% of their normal pay, up to a maximum €110 a day. Normal daily pay includes any regular bonus or allowance which does not change from week to week (but excludes overtime or commission).

If an employees’ pay changes from week-to-week (for example, because of regular bonus payments or allowance), their sick pay is the average of pay over the 13 weeks before the employee is on sick leave.

How much is this going to cost businesses?

According to official government figures, the average cost to the employer will be €1100 per employee. The estimated cost of the new sick pay scheme was based on the average of 9.2 days of sick leave across the public sector.

What if an employer already has a sick pay scheme in place?

An employer may offer a more generous sick pay arrangement under its own scheme. If so, an employees’ sick leave will be dealt with under that scheme. That scheme must be more favourable, when viewed as a whole, than the statutory sick pay scheme if it is to apply.