Employers Must Pay Sick Leave Under New Proposal

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Proposed new laws that will make it mandatory for employers to pay for sick leave have been signed off by the Cabinet.

The Sick Leave Bill 2022 is set to be published and make its way through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The new laws will be phased in between now and 2026, giving businesses time to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Currently only half of employees in Ireland are compensated for sick days. Many of those who aren't covered by sick pay are among the country's lowest paid workers.

Employers will initially be expected to offer three days sick leave per annum, rising to five days in 2024 and 10 days by 2026.

Sick pay must be equivalent to 70% of a worker's regular wage up to a maximum of €110 per day. Employers will be entitled to offer employees better terms if they so wish.

"The pandemic exposed the precarious position of many people, especially in the private sector and in low-paid roles, when it comes to missing work due to illness," said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar. "No one should feel pressured to come to work when they are ill because they can't afford not to."

"We have made a big effort to design the scheme so that it’s easy to use, fair and affordable for employers," Varadkar added. "We’ve done a lot of consultation on this, with representatives from both the employee and employer side and although I know some will think it goes too far and others that it doesn’t go far enough, I think it has struck a fair and reasonable balance."

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