Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond, has announced that entitlement to paid sick leave will increase from 3 to 5 days on 1 January 2024. This is in line with the government commitment to gradually increase the entitlement until 2026, when it will reach 10 days.
Minister Richmond said, “we do not want workers to feel that they must attend work when they are sick due to financial fears. Paid sick leave is an important workers’ right which provides protection to employees who are genuinely unable to work due to ill health or injury. Lower paid workers who cannot afford to miss work when sick stand to benefit the most from this increase to five days paid sick leave.”
“Workers who have more favourable sick pay from their employer will not be impacted as this scheme provides a minimum level of protection for workers. The move to 5 days sick leave is the second stage of our 4-year plan which will see employer-paid sick leave rise to 10 days in 2026. This gradual increase in paid sick leave gives employers time to adjust and to plan for its introduction, but also gives workers certainty about their own rights.”
Paid sick leave ensures that all employees are entitled to a minimum level of financial compensation if they are unable to work due to illness or injury. Workers will be entitled to up to 5 days of sick leave in a year, paid at 70% of gross earning, up to a cap of €110. It is primarily intended to provide sick pay coverage to those employees, often in low-paid and precarious roles, who do not have access to a company sick leave scheme. The scheme offers a floor level of protection and does not interfere with existing, more favourable, sick pay schemes.
Although the government is acutely aware that small businesses are concerned with the overall cost of doing business, the solution is not to dilute workers’ rights but to provide targeted measures to support businesses.
The Increased Cost of Business Scheme, announced in Budget 2024, will provide direct financial support to small businesses who are most impacted by increased costs.
This government remains committed to backing business, backing workers, and ensuring that work pays.