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All Irish workers will now be entitled to paid sick leave for the first time under new law. The change was heavily campaigned for by The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD and received fundamental government approval in recent weeks.

Ireland remains one of few Europe economies without a mandatory sick leave entitlement. Currently, sick leave is provided to about half f all employees through their terms and conditions but there is a gap between public sector works of whom almost get sick pay and private sector workers where coverage is much less.

The scheme will be phased in over four years, to help employers plan and manage the additional costs, which have been capped. The Government understands that many businesses, especially smaller businesses, have struggled during the pandemic and this will cause an additional financial problem.

The scheme will begin with three days per year once the bill is enacted, rising to five days a year by 2024, seven in 2025 and ten days in 2026.

Sick pay will be paid by an employer’s rate of 70 per cent of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily maximum threshold of €110. This can also be revised by ministerial order to reflect inflation and changing incomes.

For more information, visit: gov.ie – Sick Leave Bill 2021 (www.gov.ie).

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