ICTU encourage people to have their say on sick pay

16 Nov 2020

Sick Pay

Responding to the launch of the public consultation on plans to guarantee all workers a right to sick pay, Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King said: “It took a pandemic to expose the big failings in how we protect workers against loss of income, the lack of a legal entitlement to sick pay from an employer being one of the most glaring examples.”

“Unlike workers in nearly all European countries, workers in Ireland have no legal right to sick pay. Sick pay is at the discretion of the employer to include or not in a contract of employment. As a result, up to half of the labour force, including hundreds of thousands of low-paid essential workers, don’t receive sick pay and face being financially compelled to work when unwell” she said.

Ms King added: “On foot of ICTU’s work highlighting how Ireland is completely out of line with European norms in not requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, Government has committed to legislating for a new workers’ right to sick pay.”

ICTU Social Policy Officer, Dr Laura Bambrick said: “Ensuring workers are well at work is a basic issue of safety and simply the right thing to do. When workers are unwell they need to rest to recover. When sick workers stay home they reduce the spread of infection and the risk of workplace accidents; they protect others.”

Dr Bambrick said: “Following on from ICTU’s work bringing to public attention a root cause of the Covid-19 clusters in meat plants and our calls on politicians to make sick pay mandatory for all workers, the Tánaiste and Minister for Employment, Leo Varadkar invited ICTU and employer representative bodies to enter discussions on the design of a statutory sick pay scheme. The consultation launched today invites interested groups and members of the public to input their priorities for the new scheme.

“Our voluntary system of sick pay isn’t working. Introducing mandatory sick pay will be a lasting legacy of the pandemic and bring Ireland in to line with basic workers’ rights in the rest of Europe” she said.

See our quick guide to The State of Sick Pay in Ireland here: https://www.ictu.ie/download/pdf/ictu_the_state_of_sick_pay_sept_2020.pdf 


Conor Kavanagh, Congress Communications Office, 086 811 6607 / conor.kavanagh@ictu.ie 

Dr. Lara Bambrick, Social Policy Officer,  087 814 2358 / laura.bambrick@ictu.ie