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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Changes to sick leave and pay

January 28th, 2023 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Changes to sick leave and pay Image
From this year you’re entitled to three days sick pay a year, but you must be certified by a GP as unable to work. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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UNTIL now, you had no legal right to be paid while you were on sick leave from work. However, this has changed thanks to the new Statutory Sick Pay scheme (SSP).

Since January 1st, you have a right to three days’ sick pay a year. This is called statutory sick pay (that means the legal minimum).

Sick pay is paid by your employer at 70% of your normal pay up to a maximum of €110 a day.

The entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in over four years:

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. The sick pay year is the calendar year, so it runs from January 1st to December 31st.

How do I know if I am entitled to sick pay?

To qualify for statutory sick pay you must be an employee and have worked for your employer for at least 13 continuous weeks before you are sick. You must also be certified by a GP as unable to work

Do I need a medical cert to get sick pay?

Under the sick leave legislation, you must be certified by a GP as unable to work to qualify for statutory sick pay. You should be certified from day one of your sick leave. You have a right to SSP from the first day you are off sick. Your employer cannot apply ‘waiting days’ before you get sick pay.

How is my sick pay calculated?

Your statutory sick leave payment must be paid at your normal daily rate. You are entitled to 70% of your normal pay, up to a maximum €110 a day.

What is normal daily pay?

Your normal daily pay includes any regular bonus or allowance which do not change from week to week (but excludes overtime or commission).

If your pay changes from week-to-week (for example, because of regular bonus payments or allowance), your sick pay is the average of your pay over the 13 weeks before you are on sick leave. Remember that sick pay is capped at a maximum of €110 a day.

What if  employer already has a sick pay scheme?

Your employer may offer you more generous sick pay arrangements. However, any company sick leave scheme can’t be less than the statutory amount.

What happens if I am off sick for more than three days?

If you are off work sick for more than three days, and you have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for a payment called Illness Benefit.

If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you should contact the DSP’s representative at your local health centre. They will assess your situation.

How are my employment rights protected while I am on sick leave?

Your employments rights are protected during sick leave. You are treated as being in employment while you are on sick leave.

What are my options if I experience problems getting sick pay?

If you do not get sick pay, contact your employer to try to resolve the issue informally first.

If you cannot resolve the issue directly with your employer, you can make a formal complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for information on how to make a complaint to the WRC

You must make your complaint within 6 months of the dispute. The time limit can be extended for a further 6 months if there is reasonable cause for the delay.

Can an employer be exempt from paying sick pay?

An employer who is experiencing severe financial difficulties can apply to the Labour Court for an exemption to pay statutory sick pay. If an exemption is granted, it will be for a period of between 3 to 12 months.


For further information call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in West Cork on 0818 07 8390. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you. The offices are staffed from 10am-5pm from Monday to Thursday and on Friday from 10am-4pm.

Alternatively you can email [email protected] or log on to

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