North's agency workers to get sick pay entitlement

All agency workers in the North will be entitled to statutory sick pay before the end of the month it was announced today.

Employment and Learning Minister Reg Empey welcomed Assembly approval for draft regulations which make minor amendment to legislation covering agency workers.

It means that from October 27 agency workers with a contract of three months or less will be included in sick pay arrangements as had been originally intended by government.

The change follows a recent decision in the Court of Appeal in London which ruled that as the law stood in the UK agency workers on contracts of three months or less were excluded from the benefit entitlement.

Empey said: "The principle of the statutory payments legislation is to treat all workers who pay National Insurance contributions on their income in the same way, regardless of the length of their contract.

"As the law currently stands, agency workers with contracts of three months or less are the only group of workers who are not entitled to statutory sick pay, although they are entitled to statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory paternity pay. "

The minor changes to the law will amend an unintended anomaly and provide these agency workers with an entitlement to statutory sick pay, he said.


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