The 2021/2022 Oireachtas term ended last week with a slew of new legislation passing the Final Stage in Dail Eireann. Amongst the new laws is the Sick Leave Act 2022.
To recap, this new law provides for a minimum level of employer paid sick leave. Key details include:
- Sick leave must be paid to all employees who have at least 13 weeks’ continuous service.
- The entitlement to paid sick leave is capped at three days per year.
- This entitlement will increase to five days in 2023, seven days in 2024 and then to ten days in 2025.
- An employee must obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay.
- Sick leave will not be paid at the normal rate of salary. The rate of payment for statutory sick pay will be of 70% of the employee's normal daily wages and capped at a maximum of €110 per day.
- Contracts or policies that are on the whole more generous the new minimum sick leave entitlements should not be effected by the new law.
Is this new law immediately applicable?
No the bill still needs to be signed by the President to finally become law. Even after this is done the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment ("Leo Varadkar TD") has discretion as when the bill is commenced (i.e. comes into force).
What should employers do?
In anticipation of this new law coming into effect, employers should review and update their sick leave policies. There will be many policies, which are overall more generous than the new law, but will still be non-compliant. For instance, where an employer has a full pay sick leave regime but does not allow for sick pay during probation.
As we head into the 2022/2023 term in September we expect to see even more employment legislation proposed and passed, involving:
- Gender ratios on company boards.
- New flexible working arrangement for parents.
- New carer's leave entitlements.
- New remote working entitlements.
Keep an eye out for Fieldfisher blogs and webinars on these new developments.