Sick Pay Plans Will Place ‘Disproportionate Cost Burden’ On Employers

The Association has requested an invitation to discuss our sectors concerns that there will be unfair and disproportionate costs if the Bill, as published, is passed into legislation.

ICTU concerned cost of GP visits to certify sick leave will act as barrier to accessing it.

Plans for greater sick pay rights will place a “disproportionate cost burden” on employers, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) has claimed.

Meanwhile, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has raised concerns that the cost of going to a GP to certify sick leave – which is required under the draft legislation – will be a barrier to accessing it.

The issues were raised at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise which is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the Government proposals.

Under the plans for a statutory sick pay regime all workers would get an entitlement for paid sick leave of three days initially, rising to 10 by 2025.

While the rate of pay is not outlined in the draft legislation – and would be set in regulations to follow – there are suggestions that it will be at 70 per cent of an employee’s normal rate subject to a daily earnings threshold of €110.

IBEC’s director of employer relations Maeve McElwee told TDs and Senators that the proposals pose “a significant cost to employers, particularly SMEs and those in sectors that have been most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

She said: “IBEC submits that the introduction of statutory sick pay, in the manner proposed, will give rise to a disproportionate cost burden to employers at this time.”

Ms McElwee said it is not yet known what the rate of pay will be but referred to the mooted daily earnings threshold of €110 and compared that to a rate of £95.85 a week in Northern Ireland.

She said the proposed daily threshold would be basing a statutory sick pay entitlement on an annual salary of €40,889.16 and that “goes beyond protecting those who are in low pay”.