Statutory Sick Leave will be effective from 1st January 2023
Michelle McDonagh, Consulting and Client Relationship Manager, Adare Human Resource Management
The Sick Leave Act 2022, which was passed by the Oireachtas in July 2022, will come into effect from 1st January 2023. The new scheme entitles employees to paid sick leave from their employer as well as State illness benefits.
The new statutory sick pay scheme will be phased in over a four-year period. Initially, employees will be entitled to three days paid sick leave for the first year (2023), increasing to five days in 2024, seven days the year after and, by 2026, employees will be entitled to 10 days paid sick leave.
In order to qualify for sick pay, an employee must have 13 weeks employment and have a medical certificate confirming the dates of absence from a registered medical professional.
Once entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions.
Employers will be required to pay a rate of 70% of the employee’s pay up to a daily maximum of €110. The threshold is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.
There are provisions in the Act to allow the rate and number of days to be revised by ministerial order in line with inflation and changing incomes and the legislation expressly states that this does not prevent employers offering better terms or unions negotiating for more through a collective agreement.
What should employers do now to prepare?
Prior to any legal requirement to do so, our recent HR Barometer report found the majority of businesses already had a sick leave policy in place at nearly eight in ten (77%) organisations.
Employers who have sick leave policies in place already should now review and make the relevant updates to ensure compliance with the new legislation, communicating same to their staff.
Employers who currently do not have a sick leave policy will be required to have one in place by the start of next year.
Employers are advised to analyse and determine their absenteeism rate, to assess the potential financial implications for their 2023 budgets initially.
Our HR Barometer Report found that the anticipated absence rate for 2022 is 12.5% and it was 11% for 2021. Of this, 65% was certified and 81% was short-term absence.
Follow this link to download an FAQ document to answer some technical questions about how best to apply the sick leave payment in practice.
Our most common question to date – does the 3-day paid sick leave apply as a once off entitlement in 2023 or for every period of illness? Click this link to find out.
If you would like to set up a call with a member of our team to understand how we can help you stay compliant and protect your business against unnecessary costs, email email@example.com or click here to book a call.
Adare Human Resource Management is a team of expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice Human Resource Management consultants.