By: Eoin Casey | Posted on: 22 Dec 2022

Statutory Sick Pay Entitlement from the 1st January 2023
The Sick Leave Act 2022 (“the Act”) was signed into law in July 2022 and commenced by Ministerial order on the 29th November 2022. It provides for the first time in Irish law, for a mandatory statutory sick pay scheme which applies from the 1st of January 2023 and so is of major importance for both employees and employers alike.

Key points
• From the 1st January 2023, eligible employees will benefit from an automatic entitlement to paid sick leave from their employer for up to 3 statutory sick days per year, regardless of any less favourable sick pay terms in their contracts, statements of terms or applicable sick pay schemes/policies.
• The eligibility requirements include the requirement that the employee must have completed at least 13 weeks continuous service before the sick day(s) claimed for and must have been certified unable to work by a medical practitioner for the day(s) in question.
• The entitlement for eligible employees will be to statutory sick pay of 70% of their normal wage, subject to a maximum daily rate of €110.
• While not directly provided for under the provisions of the Act, it has been indicated that the statutory sick pay entitlement will increase to 5 days in 2024, 7 days in 2025 and 10 days from 2026 onwards.

Action to be taken by Employers
Where an employer already has in place a statutory sick pay scheme/terms that are more favourable than the statutory terms coming into force under the Act, then same will still apply, However, to the extent that the existing sick pay terms include any less favourable provisions, including relating to eligibility, then the statutory sick pay regime may override the less favourable provisions. For example, if an employer provides in its existing sick pay scheme for more than 3 days sick pay, but subject to the employee having, say 6 months continuous service, then the employee will still be entitled to claim sick pay under the statutory regime after 13 weeks service. On the other hand, if, as is sometimes the case, an employer does not provide for any sick pay entitlement within the current employee terms, then the statutory provisions will nonetheless bind employers and apply to employees from the 1st January 2023.
Accordingly, employers should review their employment contracts/terms/sick pay schemes/policies and consider amending them to reflect the new statutory terms.  
Crucially, employers are required under the provisions of the Act to keep records of any statutory sick pay leave taken by employees, which are to be retained for 4 years. Failure to comply is an offence, potentially leaving them open to a fine on summary conviction.
If you are an employer or an employee and require advice on the provisions and impact of this Act, please contact the person(s) referenced below.

Key contact: Eoin Casey

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