Sick Pay Regulations
What am I entitled to under the legislation?
As of January 1st, the Sick Leave Act 2022 provides employees with the right to three day’s statutory sick pay per year.
Prior to this legislation being enacted, there was no legal right to be paid while on sick leave from work. That said, in many unionised workplaces there will be in place more favourable company policies around sick pay so you should consult these for further information. Accordingly, the legislation sets minimum entitlements and unions have negotiated for enhanced benefits.
What are the rates of pay?
Under the legislation, sick pay is paid by your employer at 70% of your normal pay up to a maximum of €110 a day. To avail of this pay, you must be an employee and be working at least 13 weeks with your employer before you can get statutory sick pay.
Again, refer to your own company circular for pay arrangements.
The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is the legal minimum sick pay and the entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in over 4 years as follows:
- 2023 – 3 days covered
- 2024 – 5 days covered
- 2025 – 7 days covered
- 2026 – 10 days covered
My company didn’t offer any sick pay before this, now what happens?
The company must modify their scheme to be in line with the legislation. However as outlined above there is an exemption allowable under the legislation when the employer is deemed unable to pay by the Labour Court
How do I avail of the Sick Leave Pay?
You must have a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay and have worked for your employer for a minimum of 13 weeks. Once the entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees in need of longer sick leave may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection, subject to PRSI contributions.
Members of the CWU should also refer to our benefits section for more information:
Will I get paid if I am on probation?
Yes, you are entitled to sick pay if you are:
- On probation
- Undergoing training including internships
- An apprentice
- An agency worker
Also, the employer can suspend your probation, training, or apprenticeship while you are on sick leave and add these days to the end of the relevant period.
What are my employer’s obligations?
First, employers must maintain proper records as outlined above otherwise they may be convicted and fined up to €2,500. The employer who claims financial difficulties however may apply for an exemption to the Labour Court. An exemption if granted would be for a minimum of three months and up to one year.
Do I have to take the days together?
No, sick days can be taken as consecutive days or non-consecutive days. The sick pay year is the calendar year, so it runs from 1 January to 31 December.
What are my employment rights while on sick leave?
You cannot be penalised for availing of your sick pay entitlements. While you are on leave you are entitled to be treated as if you had not been absent and as such all-employment rights will be maintained. Absence on statutory sick leave also cannot to be treated as part of any other leave.
What happens if I am off sick during public holidays?
If you work full time and you are on sick leave during a public holiday, the following will apply:
- you can get sick pay or Illness Benefit for the public holiday you miss.
- The employer can treat you as not being on sick leave pay you as normal for the public holiday day.
What about my annual leave?
If you become sick while on annual leave and get a medical certificate, then those sick days will not be counted as annual leave days. Once the sick certificate has been submitted, the employer cannot make you take annual leave for those sick days.
Annual leave will also accrue while you are on certified sick leave. If you are on long-term sick leave, then you may carry over your annual leave for up to 15 months at the end of the year that you were out sick. If you leave your position within those 15 months, then your employer should give you holiday pay for the leave that you did not take owing to illness.