Statutory sick leave was introduced in Ireland in January 2023 under the Sick Leave Act 2022 (the “Act”).

An employee who is incapable of work due to illness or injury is entitled to three days paid statutory sick leave per year. Prior to its introduction in January 2023, the Government had indicated that it intended for this entitlement to increase as follows:

Statutory Sick Leave Entitlement Year
Three days2023
Five days2024
Seven days2025
Ten days2026

Qualifying employees are entitled to a statutory sick leave payment from their employer for each statutory sick leave day.  The employee must provide their employer with a medical certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner stating that they are unable to work.

The rate of pay for each statutory sick leave day is 70% of an employee’s normal gross daily pay, capped at €110 per day.  

Currently, after three consecutive days of sick leave, an employee may be entitled to Illness Benefit from the Department of Social Protection (“DSP”), subject to the employee having made sufficient pay related social insurance contributions (“PRSI”). 

In relation to whether the extension of statutory sick leave days will lead to a corresponding increase in waiting days to five days for Illness Benefit, the Government has advised that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is working with the DSP “to insure seamless interaction between both schemes”.  You can read the Government’s full announcement here.

An employee must have completed 13 weeks continuous service with their employer to qualify for statutory sick leave.  Any unused sick leave is lost at the end of the calendar year and cannot be carried forward.

Significantly, obligations under the Act will not apply where an employer provides employees with a sick leave scheme and the terms of that scheme provide, over the course of a reference period in the scheme, benefits that are, “as a whole, more favourable to the employee than statutory sick leave.” Each employer’s scheme will need to be assessed on a case by case basis, taking into account specific considerations as set out in the Act.

Further details on statutory sick leave under the Act are considered in our previous briefing here

For more information on complying with your obligations under the Act, please contact a member of the Employment Group. 

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not legal or other advice.