Public consultation on the introduction of a Statutory Sick Pay Scheme in Ireland

Below is CIPD Ireland's response on public consultation on the introduction of a Statutory Sick Pay Scheme in Ireland

CIPD Ireland believes it is time for Ireland to introduce a statutory sick pay, acknowledging that it will increase business costs and recognising it is the ethical and responsible approach to take.It will have most positive impact on employees in vulnerable and lowpaid jobs. Overall we recommend its introduction at the rate of basic pay for a maximumtwo-week period. This will provide supports to those not currently covered by any company sick pay scheme and restrict the financial risk to two weeks basic pay after 6 months service.

The introduction of a Statutory sick pay scheme will put a clear focus on absence management, a positive development. We argue for supports and training be put in place for SMEs and small business who do not have access to the same level of professional expertise. There is a wide concern over the perception and management of abuse, and tools to minimise this are critical. CIPD Ireland would welcome the opportunity to share the success of our UK intervention whereby HR advisors have been made available to small business to support them in their immediate response to HR issues.

Statutory sick pay should not be positioned as a stand alone intervention. Its power is in having a purpose to financially support those in low paid and vulnerable employment and more widely to provide a framework of early assessment and intervention to tackle the issue and cost of illness and absence in the labour force. As our labour force ages, this can be a timely initiative to educate and support employers on accommodations to keep people at risk of absence, engaged in the workforce.

Success will be dependent on:

  • a limited time-bound scheme, we advise two weeks
  • financial supports for employers who genuinely cannot afford pay
  • rehabilitation scheme to reduce sick absence and its negative impact on a national basis
  • a clean integration with other social protection benefits and leaves, considered through the lens of small business who have to understand and apply these correctly for their employees
  • a review mechanism that is outside the political arena¬†

We recommend a reassessment when the scheme has been implemented and teething problems sorted in a formal three to five year review. This should be taken out of the political arena with a model such as the Low Pay Commission.

Read the full submission in the download below:

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