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Paid sick leave of up to 10 days per year for all employees in Ireland by 2025

DUBLIN: The Cabinet approved Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s proposal to allow one year paid sick leave to all workers in the country from 2022. The proposal calls for at least 10 days’ sick leave for all those working in the public and private sectors by 2025. The Government said the new scheme will be phased in over the next four years due to the additional costs that it would have on employers.

Employees will be entitled to three paid sick leave per year beginning next year, under the proposed Sick Leave Bill 2021. In 2023, sick leave will be increased to five days, then seven days in 2024. By 2025, sick leave will be increased to ten days a year. The Government has made it mandatory because many employers in the country do not currently provide paid sick leave to their employees.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar pointed out that Ireland is one of the few advanced countries in Europe that does not have a mandatory sick pay scheme. Employers will be required to make the payments at 70% of an employee’s salary, which means a daily threshold of €110 will apply. This is based on an annual income of €40,889.16 or a weekly wage of €786.33 in 2019. This equates to a 2.6% pay boost in terms of value to the average employee who now receives no sick pay from their employer, according to an impact analysis carried out by the government.

The bill will also provide minimum level of protection for low-wage employees who are not eligible for company sick pay schemes.

To be eligible for the sick pay scheme, an employee must present a medical certificate and have worked for a company for at least six months. Individual employers can decide whether to require employees to submit a doctor’s certificate, even though they are legally entitled to do so, the Tánaiste said.

Even after the expiry of the sick pay period allowed by the employer, the employee can avail illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection if additional leave is required.

Maeve McElwee, director of employer relations with IBEC, said the new plan comes at a “challenging time” for employers. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions also welcomed the Government’s new decision.

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