All workers in Ireland will have the right to 10 days of paid sick leave under a new law introduced by the Government.
The Cabinet has approved the Sick Leave Bill 2022, which was introduced by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and will be phased in over a four-year period.
The new bill will guarantee three days of sick leave this year, five sick days in 2024, seven days in 2025, and 10 days in 2026.
Only half of employees in Ireland are entitled to paid sick leave at present, with a significant gap between the public and private sectors.
Under the terms of the Sick Leave Bill, employees must obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay, which will only cover 70% of their wages to a maximum of €110 per day. The cost will be covered by employers and the scheme is being phased in to help employers manage the additional costs.
Varadkar said in a statement that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the precarious position of many workers when it comes to missing work due to illness and said the Sick Leave Bill aims to address this issue.
"No one should feel pressured to come to work when they are ill because they can’t afford not to," Varadkar said in a statement.
"Ireland is one of the few advanced countries in Europe not to have a mandatory sick pay scheme," he continued, adding that the "safety net" of sick pay needed to be available to all workers.
"It has to be one of the legacies of the pandemic. It will be available to all workers, regardless of their illness."
Varadkar said the Government has decided to phase in the new measure due to rising prices associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"We have made a big effort to design the scheme so that it’s easy to use, fair and affordable for employers."