Employers may struggle to meet their obligations under new laws making sick pay mandatory, as businesses continue to tackle the unprecedented recent financial pressures.
HR Team Director Martina McAuley says the Sick Leave Bill 2022, “while positive for employees”, would put already embattled businesses under further strain.
The Irish Cabinet has signed off on the proposed new laws to make it mandatory for all employers to offer a minimum level of sick pay. The Bill will now begin its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Ms McAuley says: “Many in the Irish business community are reeling from the financial pressures associated with Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently the war in Ukraine, which will make the timing of these proposed new laws very difficult for many employers to handle.
“This announcement is good news for employees as it will provide some security and financial protection when they are unwell and unable to work. Indeed, many larger employers throughout Ireland already have sick pay schemes in place for their employees.
“However, smaller employers, and particularly those in the sectors hardest hit by the unprecedented series of crises in recent years, may struggle badly with these additional costs.”
Ms McAuley is advising employers to prepare in advance for the new scheme and have contingency plans in place to meet the potential rise in costs.
She says: “We would advise employers to review their sickness policy in advance of the scheme being implemented to ensure they have a robust procedure in place for managing absence in the workplace. Having such procedures will help employers to minimise costs associated with the proposed mandatory minimum levels of sick pay.”
She adds: “It is also important for employers to remember that this is an opportunity to increase employee morale, as this will be a welcome benefit for many employees.”
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