The Ireland Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
This year Intelligo released the inaugural Irish Payroll Report in collaboration with the Irish Payroll Association (IPASS). Interestingly, one of the key findings from that report was that 16% of respondents were unaware of critical legislation around Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Until recently, there was no legal obligation for Irish employers to pay employees sick leave; however, following Government plans to establish a Statutory Sick Pay Scheme, a draft Sick Leave Bill 2021 was published on November 5th, 2021. The scheme aims to bring Ireland in line with other European countries which have mandatory paid sick leave for workers.
What is Statutory Sick Pay?
Statutory Sick Pay will provide an entitlement to a minimum period of paid sick leave for all employees in Ireland, covering people if they fall ill or sustain an injury that prevents them from working. The eventual ten days of sick pay per year will be provided in addition to other leave entitlements such as annual leave, public holidays, etc.
Who is it relevant to?
Full- and part-time employees and employees on probation can all avail of paid leave under the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme. The draft bill allows for:
- Sick leave for up to three days throughout 2022 (increasing to five days in 2023, seven days in 2024, and ten days in 2025)
- A payment rate of 70% of average wages to be paid by employers (up to a maximum of €110 per day)
- A right for workers to complain to the WRC where they are not provided with a Sick Pay Scheme
To be entitled to paid sick leave under the new scheme, employees must be working for a company for at least 13 weeks and will also need to be certified as unfit to work by a GP.
How will it affect employers?
If your firm does not currently have a sick leave scheme in place, the new legislation will impose costs on your company such as those associated with establishing the scheme and creating records for each employee.
However, the Sick Leave Bill 2021 Regulatory Impact Assessment document also sets out the potential benefits for employers, including managing absenteeism and reducing presenteeism.
How should employers prepare?
As an employer, you must keep adequate records for each employee (for up to four years). These records should also include information about each employee who availed of sick leave. The following information must be included in your records:
- The employee’s period of employment
- The dates of Statutory Sick Leave for each employee
- The rate of Statutory Sick Pay payment for each employee
It is important to note that any employer who fails to maintain accurate records may be convicted and subjected to a fine of up to €2,500.
The information in this article is believed to be accurate as at the date of publication. However, this information has been provided in good faith and without warranty of any kind. Intelligo does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality or reliability of this information. Information of this nature may be subject to regulatory change and/or clarification by government bodies so please always check official government documentation for any updates or changes that may occur beyond the date of publication and consult your professional adviser for legal or other advice.