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Finance - Money Matters - A guide to the new sick pay entitlements

Your questions answered by Ivan Ahern

From January 1, 2014, new sick pay entitlements will come into effect for all public sector employees. The sick pay entitlements are broken into two sections:

  • Self certified paid sick leave
  • Certified paid sick leave.

Self-certified paid sick leave
This occurs when no sick certificate is provided to the employer. From the November 1, 2012, self-certified sick leave was reduced to seven days in a rolling two-year period. Previously this was seven days in one year. Transition arrangements apply as follows:

In the period beginning January 1, 2012 and ending on December 31, 2013, the maximum number of self-certified sick leave days allowable is seven.

From January 1, 2014, self-certified sick leave is seven days in a two-year rolling period. The two-year rolling period is calculated by working backwards from the latest date of self-certified sick leave absence.

A maximum of two self-certified sick leave days can be taken at one time. On the third day or longer a medical certificate is required.

Paid sick leave
Public sector employees are currently entitled to six months (26 weeks) full pay within a 12-month period. After this their salary is cut by half. Once they have clocked up 12 months (52 weeks) of illness in total over a four-year period, they are taken off the payroll completely.

However, from January 1, 2014, public servants will be entitled to just three months (13 weeks) full pay followed by three months (13 weeks) half pay, in a rolling four-year period. The four-year rolling period is calculated by working backwards from the latest date of sick leave absence.

While the reduced entitlement to certified sick leave will not formally be introduced before 2014, it is assumed at the time of going to press that any sick leave accumulated in the four-year cycle up to then will be counted against the reduced limits.

Critical illness
For employees who are unable to work due to a ‘critical illness’, paid sick leave will be provided for six months at full pay and six months at half pay in a rolling fouryear period.

What constitutes a ‘critical illness’ has not yet been defined, but as per the insurance industry, typical examples include cancer, stroke and heart-related illnesses.

Temporary rehabilitation pay
At the conclusion of this extended sick-leave period, a further period of ‘temporary rehabilitation pay’ may be payable. This was previously known as ‘pension rate of pay’. You must apply for this rehabilitation pay before your sick pay runs out. This will be subject to periodical reviews (possibly every three months). Reviews will be carried out by an occupational health consultant.

The total maximum period of sick pay including temporary rehabilitation pay is two years.

Protecting your salary
Thankfully, you can protect your salary against these changes with the INMO’s Income Protection Scheme. The main aim of the scheme is to protect you against the additional financial strain that unexpected illness can bring with it.

It provides you with the security of knowing that you will receive a benefit of up to 75% of your annual salary* to spend however you want. It enables you to continue to pay your:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Utility bills
  • Weekly shopping
  • Car loan repayments
  • TV bills
  • Phone bills
  • School expenses
  • Other unexpected costs that may arise. Put simply, it means that there is one less thing to worry about while you concentrate on getting better.

For more information on the new sick pay entitlements or the INMO’s Income Protection Scheme please call Cornmarket, Tel: 01 470 8072.

Ivan Ahern, Director, Cornmarket Group Financial

Services Ltd *Less any Early Retirement Pension/Pension Rate of Pay and/or State Illness Benefit to which you are entitled.

Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. Irish Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes

Finance - Money Matters - A guide to the new sick pay entitlements
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