HRLegal Newsletter Oct 2022: Our Advice To Employers: Statutory Sick Pay

Welcome to the October edition of the HRLegal Newsletter. This monthly collection of focused features seeks to keep readers abreast of all updates in the quickly developing world of human resources and employment law. As we enter a new world and way of working, HRLegal is at hand for all advice in relation to all things people and HR. Our responsive and personable team of experts are available by phone, email and via our social media channels for any support they can provide.

Read on for explainers and features compiled by our experts, Una Clifford, and James Condon. For more on how we can assist your business, visit www.hrlegal.ie.

Our Advice to Employers: Statutory Sick Pay 

James Condon, HR Business Partner

In this edition of the HRLegal Newsletter, we discuss the imminent statutory sick pay legislation changes that employers should be now be considering and what will need to change.

Many, if not all, businesses should now be aware of the upcoming changes to sick pay legislation within Ireland. Currently, employees do not have any legal entitlement to be paid by their employer while on sick leave from work. The employees can however apply for Illness benefit from the State provided that they meet the required PRSI contributions. This process is due to change on 1st January 2023 when extra protection and entitlements will be provided to employees.

In late 2021, plans to establish a statutory sick pay scheme were outlined by the Government. The uncertainty and lack of protection for employees who were off sick during the pandemic appears to have been the catalyst. Leo Varadkar, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, said: “This is a really important new employment right, that all workers will now have, no matter what their illness or job. Many employers pay sick pay, but the pandemic really highlighted the vulnerability of some workers, especially in the private sector and those on low pay”. Initially, a draft Sick Leave Bill was published on 5 November 2021 which was later followed up by it being enacted on 13 July 2022.

On the 20 July 2022, the Sick Leave Act 2022 became law.

We have now been given further guidelines on the timelines for the roll out of the new requirements The entitlement to sick pay will commence on 1 January 2023.

From 1 January 2023, workers will have a right to:
– Paid sick leave for up to 3 sick days per year. This will increase to 5 days in 2024, 7 days in 2025 and 10 days in 2026.
– A rate of payment for statutory sick leave of 70% of normal wages to be paid by employers (up to a maximum €110 per day). 

An important caveat on this legislation is that the employee’s entitlement to a statutory sick leave day shall not commence before a time when they have completed 13 weeks continuous service with their employer. 

Additionally, The obligations under this Act shall not apply to an employer who provides the employees with a sick leave s

Conversely, provision in a contract of employment that is or becomes less favourable to an employee than a similar or corresponding entitlement of the employee under the Act shall be deemed to be modified so as to be not less favourable.  

Despite the Tanaiste’s view that many employers already pay sick pay, this legislation will have a major impact on businesses and poses many considerations. Businesses will have additional costs which they will need to provide for very shortly. The policies and procedures of many businesses will either need to be amended or new policies created. The task of creating or updating such policies is time consuming and will take careful consideration. 

On top of this, employers are expected to keep records of all related sick pay and this will need to be done in a systematic way. Employer records will need to include the following (a) the period of employment of each employee who availed of statutory sick leave, (b) the dates and times of statutory sick leave in respect of each employee who availed of such leave, and (c) the rate of statutory sick leave payment in relation to each employee who availed of statutory sick leave. Another point to note is that the employer will need to maintain a record for a period of 4 years.   

HRLegal would advise all businesses to ensure this new legislation is at forefront of their minds given that we are less than two months out from in enactment. Should your business need advice on policies procedures or any general query on the legislation please feel to reach out to info@HRLegal.ie.  

If you or your business requires further information on this new legislation, or expert guidance in amending your policies and procedures, please contact Una at +353 1 639 3000, or visit www.hrlegal.ie.

On Thursday 29 September, HRLegal featured at Ireland’s largest B2B event Biz Expo Ireland, at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena, Dublin. We met some wonderful business owners and executives, and offered info and advice all day (and cupcakes, too). 

If you missed out on getting to chat to us at Biz Expo, make sure to let us know – email jcondon@hrlegal.ie. 



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