Statutory Sick Pay Leave – Common Questions

Statutory Sick Pay Leave – Common Questions

April 24, 2024

The Sick Leave Act 2022 became law in July 2022 and came into force from 1 January 2023.

From 1 January 2024 employers are required to provide 5 days of statutory sick pay leave per annum. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a payment paid by employers to employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury. SSP is paid by the employer of 70% of normal pay up to maximum of €110 a day.

Sick pay leave is in addition to other leave including annual leave, public holidays, maternity, and parental leave.

This scheme started with 3 days in 2023 and will increase to 10 days or 2 working weeks in 2026.

To be entitled to SSP, the employee have to worked for the company for at least 13 weeks. Sick pay leave runs from 1 January to 31 December.

Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to SSP.

 

Statutory Sick Pay - This scheme started with 3 days in 2023 and will increase to 10 days or 2 working weeks in 2026

The entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in:

2023 – 3 days covered

2024 – 5 days covered

2025 – 7 days covered

2026 – 10 days covered

 

Sick days can be taken as consecutive days or non-consecutive days.

 

What is the difference between sick pay and statutory sick pay?

  • Statutory sick pay is limited to a specified number of days per year and is subject to additional criteria such as length of service
  • The Sick Leave Act 2022 sets out the criteria for employers to determine whether their existing sick pay scheme is more favourable than the proposed statutory provisions as follows:
    • The length of service before an employee becomes eligible for paid sick leave
    • The period for which the sick leave is payable
    • The number of days of absence that accrue before it is payable
    • The amount of sick pay payable
    • The reference period for comparison
  • Employers may already operate their own sick pay scheme under their contract, and they only need to take action if their terms are less favourable.

 

How to qualify for sick pay?

  • Be an employee
  • Have worked for your employer for at least 13 continuous weeks before you are sick
  • Be certified by a GP as unable to work

 

An employee can get sick pay if they are:

  • On probation
  • Undergoing training (interns)
  • An apprentice
  • An agency worker

 

Can an employee get sick pay if they am a part-time employee?

  • Yes, both full-time and part-time employees can avail of SSP.

 

Can an employee get sick pay if they have more than one job?

  • If an employee has more than one job, you are entitled to get 5 days of sick pay from each job
  • They have to work there for at least 13 weeks

 

Is statutory sick pay taxable?

Statutory sick pay is treated in the same manner as normal pay

 

Does an employee need a medical certificate to get sick pay?

  • The employee must be registered by a GP to qualify for statutory sick pay
  • They should be certified from day 1 of their sick leave
  • They have the right to SSP from the first day they are on their sick leave

 

How is sick pay calculated?

Statutory sick pay is paid based on a proportion of the employee’s income (normal daily pay). They are entitled to 70% of their normal pay, up to maximum of €110 a day.

 

What is normal daily pay?

  • Normal daily pay includes any regular bonus or allowance which does not change from week to week (but excludes overtime or commission)
  • If the employee’s pay changes from week to week (for example, because of regular bonus payments or allowance), their SSP is the average of their pay over the 13 weeks before you are on sick leave

 

How is normal daily pay calculated for part-time workers?

For part-time workers the daily pay is based on work pattern.

If an employee works:

  1. A set number of hours (for example, they work 4 hours every work day) at a fixed rate, then they get either €110 or 70% of their normal daily pay – whichever is lower
  2. Variable hours at a fixed rate, then they get either €110 or 70% of what you would have earned on the day they were sick – whichever is lower
  3. If their work pattern does not fit into category (a) or (b) above, then they get the lower amount of either €110 or their average hourly rate. To get their average hourly rate they:
    • Divide their total pay over the past 13 weeks by their hours worked

THEN

    • Multiply this by the hours they were scheduled to work on the day they were sick

What if an employer already has a sick pay scheme?

  • An employer may offer their employees more generous sick pay arrangements under its own scheme
  • The scheme must be more favourable, when viewed as a whole, than the statutory sick pay scheme if it is to apply

 

Can an employee receive SSP and sick pay from an employer’s scheme?

  • An employee cannot get the SSP on top of the benefits from their employer’s scheme
  • If the employer has their own sick pay scheme that offers more generous benefits than SSP, the employee should be paid under those arrangements

 

What if the employee is off sick for less than 5 days?

If the employee is off work sick for less than 5 days, the unused days can be used for any other sick period, up to a maximum of 5 total days in a calendar year

 

How does sick leave affect illness benefit?

  • If an employee is off work sick for more than 5 days, and they have enough PRSI contributions, they can apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for a payment called Illness Benefit
  • Illness Benefit starts from day 6 of illness

 

What if the employee is sick again?

If the employee has already used 5 days of statutory sick leave in 2024 and you are still sick in the same year, they can get Illness Benefit from day 4 of their illness (waiting time 3 days).

 

An employee’s employment rights are protected during sick leave, they are treated as being in employment while on sick leave.

 

What if an employee is off sick during public holidays?

  • Full-time
    • If an employee works full-time and they are on sick leave during public holidays, they can get sick pay or Illness Benefit
    • It is up to the employer if they will or will not count a public holiday as a sick leave day
  • Part-time
    • If an employee works part-time and they are on sick leave during public holidays, they are entitled to time off work for a public holiday, only if they have worked at least 40 hours over the previous 5 weeks

 

Exceptions

An employee is not entitled to pay or time off for the public holiday if they are on sick leave immediately before the public holiday, and either of the following apply:

  • They have been off work for more than 26 weeks due to an ordinary illness or an accident
  • They have been off work for more than 52 weeks due to an occupational accident

 

Our UHY FDW payroll specialists can assist our clients with queries you may have in relation to SSP or any other payroll matters.

Please contact the team on 042 933 9955.

Have you considered outsourcing your payroll? If you would like any information on this, please email payroll@fdw.ie or complete the form below.

 


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