We have received a number of calls regarding the Sick Leave Act 2022. The following is a list of answers to frequently asked questions that our office has received in relation to The Act:
What is an employee entitled to, under this Act?
Under the Act, employees will be entitled to 70% of their daily earnings up to a maximum of €110 a day for three days, which will be payable by their employer. The allowance will increase to five days in 2024, 7 days in 2025, and 10 days in 2026.
Do the sick days have to be taken together (consecutively)?
Under the Act days can be consecutive or non-consecutive.
I have a staff member who works part-time on a term time contract from September to June. What entitlement does she have?
The Act applies to both part-time and full-time employees. Part-time employees have the same entitlement.
What happens if my employee is on probation?
Probation has no impact on the entitlement. However, employees must have completed 13 weeks continuous service before the Act applies.
Are these statutory sick days certified or uncertified?
An employee seeking to rely on the Act must provide their employer with a certificate from a registered medical practitioner outlining that the employee is unfit to work due to injury or illness. Once the entitlement to statutory sick leave from the employer ends, the employee may qualify for illness benefit.
What records do I need to keep?
The Act places an obligation on employers to keep proper records for each employee regarding the sick leave they availed of. The employer must retain those records for four years.
The records must include
1. The employees’ period of employment
2. The dates of statutory sick leave availed of
3. The rate of statutory sick leave payment
I currently pay my staff for 10 sick days. Can I now introduce the Statutory Sick Leave Scheme?
No, not without negotiation and agreement if it disadvantages the employee and their current entitlement is better. The introduction of this scheme cannot disadvantage an employee. It is prudent to visit the Contract of Employment to ensure the proper entitlement is given to employees.
Are there penalties for non-compliance?
The penalty for not complying with record-keeping requirements is a fine up to €2,500.
I cannot afford to pay this entitlement. Do I have to?
If an employer is experiencing severe financial difficulties, they may apply to the Labour Court for an exemption.
If an employee wants to complain about an employer with regard to this entitlement, what can they do?
We always recommend that any grievance against an employer is first dealt with under the internal grievance policy. Where an employer has not complied with the Act, an employee can make a complaint to the WRC within 6 months. A successful complaint may result in an award of compensation of up to 20 week’s pay.