A first time Statutory Sick Pay entitlement for all employees moved closer to enactment with the announcement recently, by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD, that the Government has approved the publication of the General Scheme of the Sick Leave Bill 2022.
The Bill legislates for a statutory sick pay scheme for all employees, phased in over a four-year period. The new scheme will start with three days per year once the Bill is enacted, rising to five days in 2024, seven days in 2025, and ten days in 2026. The timeline has shifted slightly since the Government first announced details of the proposed scheme last year when it said there would be 10 days of sick leave by 2025.
The entitlement will be paid by employers at a rate of 70 per cent of an employee’s wage, up to a daily maximum threshold of €110. The threshold is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.
The rate could 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.
The employee will have to obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay and the entitlement is subject to the employee having worked for their employer for a minimum of 13 weeks.
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.