First published: November 28th 2023
Last updated: February 21st 2024
What’s the current Statutory Sick Leave?
The statutory sick leave entitlement has increased to 5 days’ statutory sick leave for the 2024 calendar year, starting on 1 January 2024. This is an increase of two days compared to the 2023 entitlement. Any unused sick leave expires at the end of a calendar year.
Are part-time employees also entitled to 5 days’ paid sick leave?
Yes. The entitlement to paid sick leave does not differentiate between full and part-time employees.
However, the rate of pay (70% of gross daily pay, capped at €110 a day) is calculated depending on the average earnings of each individual employee.
Do employees receive 5 days from each employer if they have multiple employers?
Yes. Once an employee has completed their 13 weeks’ service requirement for an employer, they are entitled to 5 days’ statutory sick leave.
However, employers should note that statutory sick leave is only payable to employees who produce a valid medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner.
It’s vital to have a policy in place to manage this statutory entitlement. This can help manage employee applications, as well as make sure you put in place internal control mechanisms to prevent abuse of statutory sick leave.
Why has statutory sick leave and sick pay been introduced?
Statutory sick pay aims to ensure that all employees get a minimum level of financial compensation if they are unable to work due to illness or injury.
Further, presenteeism (when an employee shows up to work ill, sacrificing their productivity) can have a negative effect both on individual employee health and on any effort to contain the spread of a potential infection in the workplace.
Statutory sick pay is designed to relieve the pressure on employees to continue working while ill, particularly lower-paid employees who have no sick pay entitlements.
Increasing cost of doing business
The Government has acknowledged that many of the measures it has introduced are contributing to an increase in labour costs for small business owners.
To mitigate some of the strain, direct financial support will be provided to certain small businesses through the Increased Cost of Business Scheme, announced in Budget 2024.
However, there will continue to be challenges for business owners going forward, including managing the increase in statutory sick pay, the increase in minimum wage (€12.70 per hour from January 2024), as well as the pension auto-enrolment scheme (due to be introduced in 2024).
Expert advice for Irish small business owners
As a small business owner, you probably don’t have time to keep on top of ever-changing employment law regulations.
For expert employment law advice from one of our HR experts, call 1800 719 216 today.