The new entitlement to paid sick leave from employers will come into effect from 1 January 2023.
New rules giving Irish workers entitlement of paid sick leave will begin in January.
The Irish Government has signed the Commencement Order for the Sick Leave Act 2022 and the Sick Leave Act 2022 (Prescribed daily rate of payment) Regulations 2022.
“We do not want people to feel they have to go to work when they are sick, for fear of loss of income”
The initial period covered by employers will be modest, but will increase incrementally.
How new paid sick leave scheme works
From 2023, workers will be entitled to up to 3 days of sick leave in a year, paid at 70% of gross salary up to a cap of €110. It is intended that the entitlement will rise to up to 10 days sick leave in a year by 2026.
Where an employee has an extended period of illness, the scheme will operate seamlessly with the existing illness benefit system which kicks in on day four of an absence. Once the employee has exhausted their entitlement to paid sick leave, they will move onto illness benefit, if eligible.
As is always the case with workers’ rights legislation, this new law sets out the minimum standard that an employer must provide. It will not prevent employers having superior sick pay schemes of their own to attract and retain staff or on foot of an agreement with a trade union
It is the latest in a series of improvements to rights and social protections for workers and the self-employed over the last five years, including:
- paternity benefit,
- parental leave benefit,
- a new public holiday
- protection of tips and service charges
- enhanced maternity benefit,
- reintroduction of treatment benefit (dental and optical),
- Increases to the national minimum wage
- the extension of social insurance benefits like jobseekers benefit and invalidity pension to the self-employed
“Ireland has been an outlier among developed countries in not providing for statutory paid sick leave,” Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said.
“The Sick Leave Act 2022 changes that and ensures that employees will have an entitlement to paid sick leave. It will be of greatest benefit to lower paid workers, many of whom cannot afford to miss work currently. We do not want people to feel they have to go to work when they are sick, for fear of loss of income.
“It is also a valuable public health measure, reducing the risk of workplace accidents and the likelihood of infectious disease transmission in the workplace.
“This is a new legal right and will ensure that all employees have a basic level of financial protection from day one of a medically certified absence.”