The Irish government recently announced the details of a new law that gives all workers the right to paid sick leave beginning in 2022. The legislation is primarily intended to provide sick pay coverage to those employees, often in lower-paid jobs, who currently receive no sick pay or are not entitled to an illness benefit.
The sick pay scheme is being implemented over four years. Employees will be entitled to three paid sick days per year in 2022, five days in 2023, and seven days in 2024. Employers will provide 10 paid sick days per year beginning in 2025. The phased implementation is to help employers, especially small businesses, plan ahead and manage the additional cost.
The law is the latest in a series of actions providing improved social protections for workers and the self-employed over the last five years that include:
- Paternity benefits
- Parental leave benefits
- Enhanced maternity benefits
- Treatment benefits
- Social insurance benefits for the self-employed
Sick pay is to be paid by employers at 70% of an employee's wage up to a daily threshold of €110. The €110 cap is based on the mean weekly earnings in 2019 of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.16. The cap can be revised by ministerial order to account for inflation and changing incomes. The government said the earnings cap would ensure that employers do not face excessive costs in relation to employees who are on high salaries and noted that the cap for sick pay in Northern Ireland is £95.85 per week.
Edward Kowalski, Esq., is Manager, Payroll Information Resources, for the American Payroll Association