Mandatory sick pay now in effect

Key Contact: Patrick Walshe – Partner

The new statutory sick pay rules came into effect on 20th July 2022. For the first time in Ireland, employers must pay employees during periods of sick leave.

The key points to note are:

1. Number of days per year
Paid sick leave will be rolled out in phases:

  • 2022 – three days per year
  • 2023 – five days per year
  • 2024 – seven days per year
  • 2025 – ten days per year

2. Employee status
Both full and part-time employees can avail of paid sick leave under the new rules.

3. Amount of sick pay an employer has to discharge
An employer is only obliged to pay up to 70% of wages, subject to a cap of €110 a day. The government retains the power to change these thresholds in future.

The state will not boost the employer’s contribution to bring the employee up to 100% of wages.

Once the entitlement to statutory sick pay from the employer ends, employees who are still unfit for work may qualify for State Illness Benefit (which is paid entirely by the State).

4. Incidence of paid sick leave
The leave can be taken on consecutive days or non-consecutive days.

5. Service threshold to be eligible
Employees will need to have at least 13 weeks of continuous service before they are eligible for statutory sick pay.

6. Obligation on employees to furnish a medical certificate
Employees will be obliged to furnish a medical certificate in respect of each day of statutory sick leave.

7. Existing right to paid sick leave
If an employer already provides more favourable sick leave benefits to an employee, they will not be obliged to comply with the statutory sick pay rules. However, an employer will need to be able to demonstrate that any existing scheme is at least as favourable as provided for in the new legislation.

8. Impecunious employers
The new rules allow for exceptions to be made where an employer may be in a financial position where it cannot afford to make a statutory sick pay payment. An application must be made to the Labour Court to avail of the exemption.

9. Records
Employers must maintain records of sick leave/sick pay, including:

  • The employee’s period of employment
  • The dates of statutory sick leave in respect of each employee
  • The rate of statutory sick leave payment in relation to each employee.

These records must be maintained for a period of 4 years.

Records must be maintained for four years and include information in relation to each employee who availed of sick leave.

For further information in relation to the above article, please contact Patrick Walshe.

 

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