The following is a summary of the Statutory Sick Pay scheme, which comes into practice at the beginning of 2023:
- This will take effect from 1st January 2023, meaning all employers in Ireland will be legally obliged to pay the minimum statutory sick leave payments to their staff from this date, once they have been employed for a minimum of 13 consecutive weeks. Further regulations are expected to be provided for employers.
- Employees will need to provide their employer with a medical certificate to avail of the statutory sick pay (70% of their normal wage, capped at €110 per day). The statutory payment should be made without any delay by employers, but it is yet unclear whether an employer can withhold payment should there be a delay in receiving the medical certificate. It is expected that the provision of electronic certificates may help address this issue.
- Should a contractual sick pay scheme already be in place that exceeds the statutory one (3 days in year 1, 5 in year 2, 7 in year 3, 10 in year 4) employers should continue to implement it and reference in their policy/handbook that contractual sick pay is inclusive of their statutory entitlements.
- An employee can make a complaint to the WRC should they believe their employer has not complied with the Act. Awards of up to 4 week’s salary may be granted in successful complaints. Records on statutory sick pay are required to be kept by employers for no less than 4 years. Failure to comply with this could result in a fine of up to €2,500.
- It remains to see whether employees will consistently avail of the scheme due to the cost that may incur to receive a medical certificate for a short-term absence. Employers will need to set out in their policy the number of days absence permitted without a medical certificate in cases where employees may not avail of the scheme.