The Department of Employment has confirmed that the Sick Leave Bill 2022 will grant workers in the agricultural sector paid sick leave once the bill is passed.

Relief milkers, tractor drivers and meat plant operatives should all be entitled to the paid sick leave, as long as the workers are legally employed on an employer-employee basis, the Department told to the Irish Farmers Journal.

Workers will initially be entitled to three days’ sick leave per year when the bill is enacted into law, with the minimum legal allowance to rise on a stepped basis to five days of paid sick cover by 2024, seven days by 2025 and, finally, 10 days by 2026.

Employers will be required to pay employees on sick leave at a rate of 70% of their wage up to a maximum of €110 per day.

All employees

“Ireland’s body of employment rights legislation protects all employees who are legally employed on an employer-employee basis, regardless of what title is given to them,” a spokesperson from Department of Employment said.

“Therefore, once it is clear that a person is working under a contract of employment (written or verbal) that person has the same protection under employment law as other employees,” the spokesperson added.

To be entitled to sick pay, an employee must have been working for their current employer for a period no shorter than 13 weeks and be certified as unfit to work by a doctor’s note.