A bill that will legislate for a statutory sick pay scheme for all workers in Ireland has been approved by Cabinet. Here, thelooks at what exactly this would mean for employees and where there may be issues.
The Sick Leave Bill 2022 will mean that every worker in Ireland will be entitled to sick pay.
The Bill was brought by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. It will legislate for a statutory sick pay scheme for all employees and will be phased in over a four-year period.
Once passed, it will mean that all employees will be entitled to a maximum of 10 sick days each year by 2026.
Ireland is one of the few advanced countries in Europe not to have a mandatory sick pay scheme.
It is estimated that only half of employees currently have sick leave and there is a gap between the public and private sectors.
The Tánaiste has previously said that the pandemic exposed the “precarious position” of many people, especially in the private sector and low-paid roles, when it comes to missing work due to illness.
Employees must obtain a medical certificate and the sick pay will only cover 70% of wages, subject to a maximum daily threshold of €110.
The costs will be paid by the employer and the scheme is being phased in to help them manage.
Richard Grogan of Richard Grogan and Associates welcomed the introduction of a statutory sick pay scheme for Ireland. However, he said there are some difficulties such as the cost to employers coming out of the pandemic.
As it will be paid at a rate of 70% of a worker's wage to a maximum of €110 a day, Mr Grogan said the scheme will benefit those on lower salaries.
“But for those who are on higher salaries, it is a very small amount of money," he said.
In addition, availing of a medical cert will mean paying for a doctor's visit which may not be worthwhile for an employee unless they will be out for a number of days, Mr Grogan said.
Mr Varadkar said the bill was primarily intended to provide a "minimum level of protection to low-paid employees, who may have no entitlement to a company sick pay scheme".
Under the Bill, employees will be entitled to three days of paid sick leave this year, five days in 2024, seven days in 2025 and 10 in 2026, once it has been passed.