Employers' group IBEC has today said the cost of shifting additional statutory sick-pay liabilities on to employers would equate to the cost of employing 2,500 people.
The group said the proposals, put forward by the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, would put struggling firms out of business, cost jobs and force many companies to reduce pay and benefits.
The IBEC analysis, entitled ‘Sustaining employment and the implications of Statutory Sick Pay for Ireland’ stated that the proposals will be seen as a tax on jobs and will particularly hit smaller, more vulnerable employers, operating in low-margin businesses, and that absence already costs Irish business €1.5bn per annum.
IBEC director Brendan McGinty said: "Employees and employers already make obligatory PRSI contributions to support social welfare provision.
"Any move to increase this already substantial contribution will come at a serious cost and would force all employers to reassess their sick pay policies. Small companies, many operating in a depressed domestic economy, would be hit the hardest.
"The sick leave proposal is at odds with the Action Plan for Jobs, which committed the Government to reducing red tape and making Ireland more competitive so that successful businesses and entrepreneurs can create jobs.
"The Government needs to start coming up with sensible and economically sound ways of reducing expenditure, instead of just shifting costs to employers."