From the 1st of January 2023, all employers in Ireland will become obliged to make minimum mandatory sick payments to their employees. A summary of the main provisions of the Act is as follows:
- Employees must have been working for their employer for at least 13 weeks to become eligible for the payment.
- To avail of the statutory payment, the employee must provide their employer with medical certification from a GP stating that they are unable to work.
- Employees will be entitled to sick pay for up to three days per year. This is set to increase to 5 days in 2024, 7 days in 2025 and 10 days in 2026 (albeit that is not provided for under the Act) and the Act provides that the 3-day entitlement must be in place for at least one year after the commencement of the Act on the 1st of January next.
- Subject to complying with these requirements, the statutory entitlement will be triggered on the first day of the employee’s sick leave.
- An employee who meets the requirements will be entitled to statutory sick pay of 70% of their normal wages up to a maximum of €110 per day. The calculation of employees’ normal wages will include any regular bonus or allowance, the amount of which does not vary in relation to the work done by the employee but does not include any pay for overtime or commission.
- The Act provides a limited exception for employers who are experiencing severe financial difficulties within their businesses. Where that is the case, an employer may apply to the Labour Court for an exemption from their obligation to provide statutory sick pay to their employees. If granted, subject to satisfying certain conditions as set out within the Act, the exemption will apply for a minimum of three months up to a maximum of one year.
- It is important to note that it is the employer and not the state who is obliged to provide sick pay to eligible employees under the Act.
- An employer’s contractual sick pay scheme can act in tandem with the statutory sick pay entitlement provided it is not deemed to be less favourable than the entitlements in the Act. The Act will override any less favourable treatment in a company’s sick pay scheme. Where employers currently offer fewer paid sick days than the minimum number of paid sick days provided for in the Act, employers should amend their policy to clarify that their company sick pay scheme applies, and any sick days taken by an employee in excess of the company sick pay scheme will be treated in accordance with the terms of the Act.
- Employees are entitled to lodge a complaint to the Work Place Relations Commission if their employer refuses to discharge statutory sick pay. The WRC can make a maximum award of four weeks’ remuneration. Employers are obliged to retain records of statutory sick pay for four years and failure to comply with record-keeping requirements may result in a fine of up to €2,500.
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This article does not constitute legal advice and serves as an informative summary. For legal advice, get in touch with our team who will be happy to assist.
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