Ifac: Keep records in order and budget for new statutory sick pay

This January, farming, food and agribusiness specialist Ifac is advising Roscommon employers to ensure records are kept in order when it comes to employee sick leave and to budget for the additional payroll costs for the new statutory sick pay.

New legislation comes into effect this month which aims to improve the rights of employees who currently do not receive sick pay from their employer and/or are not entitled to illness benefits from the Department of Social Protection.

The Sick Leave Act requires employers to provide employees with up to three days of statutory sick pay in 2023, rising to ten days per annum by 2026.

To be eligible, employees must have worked for the employer for a minimum of 13 weeks and obtain a medical certificate. Employees who require additional sick leave after the statutory sick pay period expires may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection if they have paid the necessary PRSI contributions.

Ifac’s Head of HR & Payroll Services, Mary McDonagh, said: “As is always the case when managing people, employers need to ensure that they keep accurate sick leave records which they can rely on in the event of a Workplace Relations Commission investigation. These records should include the employee’s service history, statutory sick leave dates and payments made”.

Under the new legislation, the minimum standard of statutory sick pay that employers must provide is set at 70 per cent of the employee’s wage, subject to a daily maximum threshold of €110. The Act does not prevent employers from offering more attractive sick pay benefits.

Employers who do not already provide paid sick leave will need to budget for the additional payroll costs of complying with the new legislation, while those who do provide paid sick leave should check how their existing employee contracts may be affected.

“Further information is available from Ifac’s HR and Payroll Services team on www.ifac.ie or 1800 714 050,” Mary McDonagh concluded.