Life can hit us hard with a sudden illness or injury. In the past, this caused health and money worries. But on July 20, 2022, Ireland‘s Sick Leave Act 2022 was signed into law, improving conditions for workers. We've put together some essentials to help keep you up to date with the changes brought in for paid sick leave under the Act.
Are you entitled to sick pay?
Statutory sick pay (SSP) represents the legal minimum an employer must pay eligible employees when on sick leave. There was no SSP for Irish employees before the 2022 Act. Previously, sick pay and sick leave policies were left to the employer's discretion, according to the terms of employment or the employee's contract.
Under the provisions of the new sick leave act, employees are now entitled to employer-paid statutory sick leave, which provides them with financial support during periods of illness or injury. However, certain conditions must be met to benefit from this sick leave pay. These include:
Length of Service: Employees must have completed 13 weeks of continuous service with their current employer. This guarantees the benefit is available to individuals who have demonstrated a reasonable commitment to their job.
Medical Certificate: If you fall ill, you must provide your employer with a medical certificate issued by a registered general practitioner (GP). This certificate should clearly state that you are unfit to work due to illness or injury.
Am I entitled to paid sick leave?
The good news is that the Sick Leave Act covers various employment scenarios. You can avail of statutory sick pay if you are:
On probation: Being on probation does not disqualify you from receiving sick pay benefits. The Act is designed to protect employees, regardless of their employment status.
Undergoing training (intern): Whether you're an intern or part of a training program, the Act recognises your need for sick pay during illness.
An apprentice: Apprenticeships are essential for skill development, and the Sick Leave Act ensures that apprentices are not financially burdened if they fall ill.
An agency worker: All employees are entitled to sick pay under the new legislation. This ensures a level playing field for all employees, regardless of their employment arrangements.
What is your statutory sick leave entitlement?
Under the Sick Leave Act 2022, the value of your statutory sick leave payment is calculated based on your normal daily rate, which aims to provide you with 70% of your regular pay. This statutory sick pay is subject to a maximum limit of €110 per day. However, your employer may provide your normal daily pay.
What constitutes normal daily pay?
Your normal daily pay includes your regular wages along with any fixed bonuses or allowances that do not change from week to week. These fixed components of your pay are included in the calculation to ensure that you receive a fair portion of your typical income during your sick leave.
Overtime or commission-based earnings are excluded from this calculation. If your pay fluctuates weekly, for instance, due to regular bonus payments or allowances, your sick pay will be determined as the average of your earnings over the 13 weeks leading up to your sick leave.
In practical terms, this means that you can expect to receive a daily statutory sick pay amount equivalent to 70% of your typical daily earnings, if this figure does not exceed the €110 per day limit.
How many statutory sick days can you take off?
The new SSP scheme will be rolled out gradually over four years, with an increasing number of statutory sick days covered each year. Here's an overview of the timeline:
2023 - employees are entitled to 3 days of sick pay
2024 - this entitlement increases to 5 days
2025 - employees can claim up to 7 days of sick pay
Finally, in 2026, the scheme will cover 10 days of sick pay
Calculating your sick leave is simple: You can take your sick days all in a row or spread them out, and the sick pay year goes from January 1 to December 31. This ensures that each year, employees can use their allocated sick days.
What if I am off sick for more than 3 days?
If your illness or injury keeps you away from work for more than three days, there are support mechanisms in place. You can apply for Illness Benefit through the Department of Social Protection (DSP) if you have accumulated enough PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions.
For those who do not have sufficient PRSI contributions, reach out to the DSP's representative at your local health centre. They will work with you to assess your situation and explore available options to ensure you receive the support you need during extended periods of sickness.
Explore your career opportunities with Cpl
In conclusion, illness can significantly disrupt our lives and livelihoods, leading to financial stress. However, with the implementation of the Sick Leave Act 2022, employees can have peace of mind, knowing that their income is protected during periods of sickness or injury.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your career or embark on a new professional adventure explore the limitless possibilities with Cpl. As a global recruitment and talent solutions provider, we connect talented individuals with opportunities across various industries. Contact us today to apply for a job, and let's make your career journey extraordinary.
•Sick leave and sick pay, Citizens Information, 11th January 2023
•Sick Leave Act 2022, Irish Statute Book, 20th July 2022
•Illness Benefit, Citizens Information, 11th October 2023
•Community Welfare Service and payments, Citizens Information, 13 September 2022