The Sick Leave Act will come into effect on 1 January 2023.
What does the Sick Leave Act 2022 provide for?
The Sick Leave Act, 2022 provides for a statutory sick pay scheme for all employees.
How many days paid sick leave are provided for?
For 2023, the entitlement is 3 days paid sick leave.
It is proposed to increase the entitlement to
5 days for 2024
7 days for 2025 and
10 days for 2026.
These increases will be provided for by Ministerial Regulations in due course.
What is the Rate of Payment Payable to an Employee?
Employees are entitled to a rate of 70% of their usual daily earnings up to a maximum of €110 a day for certified leave only.
Further details regarding the prescribed daily rate of payment can be found in The Sick Leave Act 2022 (Prescribed Daily Rate of Payment) Regulations 2022.
Who Qualifies for Statutory Sick Leave and what Conditions Apply?
Employees must have completed 13 weeks’ continuous service with the employer before availing of statutory sick leave. The employee must provide their employer with a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner and the certificate must state that the employee named is unfit to work due to their illness or injury.
The entitlement is triggered by the employee’s first statutory sick leave day. The leave must be in relation to a day or days when an employee would ordinarily work but is incapable of doing so due to illness or injury. The leave can be taken on consecutive or non-consecutive days.
Are there any Circumstances where Statutory Sick Leave does not Apply?
Yes, but such instances are limited; as follows:
- An employment contract may provide for more favourable sick leave provisions.
- Where an employer provides employees with a sick leave scheme the benefits of which are more favourable.
- An employer whose business is experiencing severe financial difficulties may apply to the Labour Court for an exemption to pay sick leave. If an exemption is granted, it will be for a minimum of three months and up to one year.
Do I Qualify if I am on Probation?
The statutory sick pay scheme applies to employees on probation, employees undergoing training and employees employed under a contract of apprenticeship. However, probation, training or the apprenticeship may be suspended for the duration of the statutory sick leave where the employer considers that the employee’s absence from employment while on statutory sick leave would not be consistent with the continuance of the probation, training or apprenticeship.
What Employee Protections are Included?
Employers are obliged to ensure their employees receive no negative treatment for requesting this leave. Employees on statutory sick leave must be treated as if they have not been absent from work and this leave shall not affect any rights related to the employee’s employment. Therefore, employees may not be penalised or threatened with penalisation for exercising or proposing to exercise their entitlement to statutory sick leave.
Records to be retained by an employer
An employer must maintain a record of all statutory sick leave taken to include:
(a) the period of employment of each employee who availed of statutory sick leave,
(b) the dates and times of statutory sick leave in respect of each employee who availed of such leave, and
(c) the rate of statutory sick leave payment in relation to each employee who availed of statutory sick leave.
Records must be retained for four years. Employers failing to keep accurate records may be convicted and subject to fines up to €2,500.
Making a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)
Where an employer fails to abide by the statutory sick leave entitlements, an employee may submit a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission where a complaint may be heard in the first instance by an Adjudication Officer. An Adjudication Officer (or the Labour Court on appeal) may award compensation not exceeding 4 weeks’ remuneration in respect of the employee’s employment.