The Sick Leave Act 2022 came into effect on 01 January 2022, and for the first time, all employees will be entitled to sick leave paid by their employer in addition to government illness benefits. According to the Act, all full-time and part-time employees will eventually be entitled to ten days, or two weeks, of sick leave per year.
- Initially, it will be paid at 70% of regular earnings up to €110 per day, for the first day of illness, and this can be varied by ministerial order.
- Entitlement will gradually increase to five days in 2023 followed by seven days in 2024. In 2025, eligible employees will be entitled to 10 paid sick days per year.
- Employees need at least 13 weeks' service in order to be eligible for this sick pay. In addition, they must produce a medical certificate to their employer.
- Contracts of employment should clearly outline both statutory and contractual entitlements to pay during sickness absence. Employers must ensure that entitlements are applied fairly and consistently, and do not constitute discrimination in violation of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2015.
- Employees may be able to claim benefits from the State if they meet certain qualifying conditions Illness benefit is a distinct and separate benefit from statutory sick pay.
- It is common, when employers have contractual sick pay schemes, to include provisions within that scheme for payment to be offset against any state benefit received in order to avoid the employee receiving a windfall during sickness absence. There may also be qualifying conditions attached e.g., the production of medical certificates.