The Latest Sick Pay Allowances in IrelandWhat your business needs to know about the ever changing scheme in 2024

2022 saw a shakeup to how Irish businesses handle sick pay.

In July of that year, the Sick Leave Act became law after a bill passed earlier in the month.

The corresponding statutory sick pay scheme came into force in January 2023.

But each year, the allowances shift, with Ireland eventually targeting 10 days statutory sick pay by 2026.

Because of these constant increases in the allowances, some employers may be caught off guard.

This article will lay out all the changes that have taken place so far, as well as those still to come, so that your business can plan ahead.

What happened to the statutory sick pay allowance in 2024?

On January 1st, 2024, the allowance for statutory sick pay increased from 3 days to 5. This is the minimum number of days of sick pay employers are legally allowed to offer, so it’s important to make sure you comply with this.

As with the previous three-day allowance, employees are entitled to 70% of their regular pay during these five days, up to a maximum of €110 per day.

Can employers offer more than the statutory allowance?

Absolutely! There aren’t many restrictions around what you can offer your employees in terms of sick days over the minimum allowances. And offering additional sick days, or greater sick pay during those days, is a great way to show that you value your staff.

Paying above the statutory limits has been shown to be effective in attracting and retaining skilled employees.

Why do the sick pay allowances keep changing?

Ireland has introduced a gradual roll-out of the new allowances, with the minimum number of days regularly increasing each year until 2026. By then, employees will be entitled to ten days of statutory sick pay per year.

2025 is the last intermediate step towards that figure, when the allowance will rise again on January 1st 2025 to seven days.

This phased approach, rather than a sudden increase, gives employers time to adapt their businesses to any additional costs that might be created by this scheme.

Though some businesses may see a rise in direct costs from sick pay, they are also likely to enjoy additional benefits from offering these, such as improved employee health and retention.

Who’s entitled to sick pay?

Every employee who has worked for at least 13 continuous weeks prior to taking sick leave, and can provide certification of being unable to work from a GP, is entitled to sick pay. Employees on probation, training, or internships, as well as agency workers and apprentices, will likely also be entitled to sick leave, though this may cause a temporary suspension of the scheme they are undergoing.

These allowances are separate to other leave entitlements, such as parental leave, annual leave, and bank holidays.

Employers in serious financial trouble may apply for temporary exemptions from paying sick leave to their employers.

What does your business need to do?

If you already offer at least the minimum five days of sick pay, you’re all good! But it’s never too early to plan ahead for the changes coming in 2025 and 2026, when the allowance will increase to seven days and then again to ten days.

Of course, if you offer less favourable terms than the minimum responsibilities set out in the act, you need to make immediate changes!

Keeping track of how many days your employees currently take will help you plan and budget for the upcoming years.

If few people are currently calling in sick, it’s unlikely that you’ll suddenly have everyone taking the full allowances—but you should still have the capacity to cover this, of course.

Findmyshift’s time off management features make it easy to track sick days as well as holidays and other forms of time off. You can even appoint assistants to help you with the workload.

There are also regulations around the records which employers need to keep of employee sick leave, which must be retained for four years. Those failing to do so can be hit with fines.

By staying on top of sick pay and the regulations around it, your business will be well placed to look after its employees now and in the future.

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