CSNA responds to potential for rebate under Sick Leave Bill
The CSNA previously suggested that a rebate scheme be put in place to refund the cost of payments made for absent staff on sick leave where such staff are covered by a substitute
12 July 2022
An employer may be able to claim an allowance or rebate for sick leave payments under the Sick Leave Bill 2022 where staff are covered by a substitute, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and the Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail, Damien English have said.
Both the Tánaiste and the Minister said employers who can provide evidence that an extra employee was paid during the period of sick leave may be able to claim an allowance or rebate for such payment following an extensive review of the first period of operation of the Sick Leave Bill in 2023.
The Sick Leave Bill 2022 legislates for a statutory sick pay scheme for all employees in Ireland, phased in over a four-year period. The Bill was approved by the Cabinet at the end of March 2022. Once it is enacted, the scheme will be rolled out over four years.
Under the Bill, sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily maximum threshold of €110. The daily earnings threshold of €110 is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.16. It can be revised by ministerial order in line with inflation and changing incomes.
The new scheme will start with three days per year once the Bill is enacted, rising to five days in 2024, seven days in 2025, and ten days in 2026.
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) has responded to these comments, stating that both “Mr Varadkar and Mr English accepted the views of CSNA that small and medium-sized businesses that need to provide service to their customers are disproportionately affected by this legislation,” and added that Senator Pat Casey “summed up the feelings of many when he called on future legislation to be proofread for its effect on community-based businesses.”
The association said: “Any rebate should be viewed as a reallocation of employers PRSI, and not in itself a cost to the Exchequer,” and added that “It is not unreasonable to seek this reallocation of funds that have, since 1979 been collected specifically for a particular purpose, the funding of employee redundancy costs (no longer rebated for over a decade).”
Last month, the CSNA suggested that a rebate scheme be put in place to refund the cost of payments made for absent staff on sick leave where such staff are covered by a substitute.
According to the most recent statistics provided to the Oireachtas by the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, 74% of the total of PRSI contributions made by employers and employees comes from employers.
The CSNA therefore suggested that a rebate scheme be put in place to refund the cost of payments made for absent staff on sick leave where such staff are covered by a substitute – otherwise the employers in the labour-intensive sector such as convenience retailing, hospitality and childcare will suffer from the “double-whammy”- paying the sick employee and their replacement.
The CSNA concluded that it looks forward to engaging with Minister English and his department officials throughout the review process.