Farm workers are to be entitled to 10 days sick leave annually under a new law put forward by an Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.
The Government’s statutory sick pay scheme will be phased in over a four-year period, starting with three days per year in 2022, rising to five days payable in 2023 and seven days payable in 2024.
Employers will eventually cover the cost of 10 sick days per year in 2025. It’s being phased in to help employers, particularly small businesses, to plan ahead and manage the additional cost, which has been capped.
Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110.
The rate of 70% and the daily cap are set to ensure excessive costs are not placed solely on employers, who in certain sectors may also have to deal with the cost of replacing staff who are out sick at short notice.
The bill is primarily intended to provide a minimum level of protection to low paid employees, who may have no entitlement to company sick pay schemes.
An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “I believe this scheme can be one of the positive legacies of the pandemic as it will apply to illness of all forms and not just those related to COVID.”
Other features of the scheme are that an employee will have to obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay, and the entitlement is subject to the employee having worked for their employer for a minimum of six months.