The introduction of Statutory Sick Pay in January 2023 represented a major shift in employment rights for Irish employees. While the concept of statutory sick pay is not new and had been mooted for many years prior to its introduction, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated its implementation, when the government understood how critical it was to provide financial supports to sick employees so as to ensure they didn’t come to work and contribute to the spread of the disease.
The scheme has been introduced on a phased basis, to ensure employers can manage the additional costs to their business, starting at 3 days pay in 2023, and rising to 10 days by 2026. The entitlement is 70% of the employee’s pay, subject to a daily maximum of €110 per day.
In order to be eligible for the scheme, employees must have at least 13 weeks service with their employer. They are also required to provide a sick cert in order to qualify for payment. The cert is required from the first day of absence. This would represent a change to many employers’ existing policies where it is common practice to request a cert from the third day of absence. It has been argued that requiring an employee to cover the cost of a cert from day one might negate any benefit they would have received from the sick pay entitlement, especially for lower paid workers.
Finally, as part of the Act, employers are required to keep records of any statutory sick leave taken by employees for 4 years. Failure to do so is an offence and may be subject to a fine.
For any help with your sick leave policies, or HR matters in general, get in touch with us on 087 6471907 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.