Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.32 9 Jun 2021


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Sick pay rights are to be given to all workers from next year.

Under proposals being brought to Cabinet by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, employers would have to guarantee a minimum number of paid sick days from 2022.

It is estimated that about half of workers may not have access to company sick pay at present.

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Laura Bambrick is head of social policy and employment affairs at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

She told Newstalk Breakfast it is still treated as a job 'perk' in a lot of instances.

"Ireland is one of a small handful of wealthy countries where workers have no right to paid sick leave from their employer, and employers have no responsibility to their sick workers.

"In Ireland, sick pay is treated as a perk of the job - that employers can decide whether or not to include [it] in the workers contract of employment.

"So that's about to change with this bill being considered by Cabinet today, which will make sick pay a legal right".

She said there are several elements to keep an eye on in the small print.

"Sone of the features for your listeners to listen out to when they are announced later today is around whose eligible.

"Will you have to earn over a certain amount? Will you have to be with your employer for a certain period to qualify?

"The rate of payment - will be it be a flat amount, or will it be a percentage of the workers earnings?

"The duration of the payment - how long of the period of sickness will be covered? The waiting days, the period inbetween getting sick and being eligible for sick pay?

"Another big, important feature will be the rollout period: how long between it kicking in before we have a comprehensive sick pay scheme."

Laura added that a lot of private sector employers already provide sick pay themselves.

"Public servants would be covered by it, so that takes out a large chunk.

"And even within [the] private sector... there are lots of good employers out there that do voluntarily cover their workers.

"But [there are] a lot of people without it, and that'll change from today".

Questions remain as sick pay to be given to all workers from next year

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Main image: A woman with a cold blowing her nose with a tissue. Picture by: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

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Employers ICTU Irish Congress Of Trade Unions Laura Bambrick Leo Varadkar Newstalk Breakfast Paid Sick Days Sick Pay

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