The Government has now implemented the Sick Leave Act 2022. With effect from the 1st of January 2023, employees who fulfil certain conditions are entitled to a number of days paid Sick Leave for certified absence from work due to illness. (See below for more details of the Act).
In accordance with the legislation, patients who wish to avail of Sick Leave payment under this scheme must provide their employer with a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner to state that they are unfit for work.
What does this mean for patients of Sirona Medical?
In general, patients requesting medical certification should be assessed by a doctor as being unfit for work. This is especially important where significant durations of illness absence are being sought. It is essential as a practice that we have regard for best practice and that where possible, patients are seen in person. There may be circumstances where a medical certificate may be issued where a patient is known to the doctor and the illness is in keeping with a short, self-limiting illness.
In the context of self-limiting viral illness, for example, sore throat or a brief episode of vomiting/diarrhoea (48 hours), it may be possible depending on the individual circumstances, for these patients to be certified without being seen so as to reduce the transmission of these common viral illnesses.
In these circumstances only, a medical certificate may be issued for 1-2 days at the absolute discretion of the doctor. Any medical certificate being requested for longer than 2 days (i.e., 3 days or longer), the patient will need to be seen for a medical consultation.
Where a patient requests a medical certificate for three days or more, an appointment to see the doctor will be necessary. There will be some limited circumstances where the doctor may deem it appropriate to issue a medical certificate for longer, such as for Covid 19 certification as an example.
In the context of the costs attached to implementing this legislation, there will now be a fee of €10.00 for all Sick Certs / Notes for Work. This is to help cover the administration costs of providing Sick Certs. As you will be aware, this practice, unlike many others, has not previously charged a fee for Sick Certs / Notes for Work. It is however unsustainable for us to continue providing this administrative work free of charge, so we have set a fee which we believe is reasonable (and significantly lower than the majority of practices). Please note this fee applies to either private or Medical Card / Doctor Visit Card patients (admin services including Sick Certification are not covered under the GMS / Medical Card schemes).
This legislation is being considered in the context of acute illness and does not apply for ongoing illness certification which falls under the current DEASP scheme known as Illness Benefit.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is the legislation that states that to be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, a patient needs to have a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner. This is a decision by Government and this information sets out how it will be implemented in this practice.
The details of the Sick Leave Act 2022
The Sick Leave Act 2022 came into full effect for employees from 1st January 2022. You must be an employee and be working at least 13 weeks with your employer before you can get statutory sick pay.
From 2023, workers will be entitled to up to 3 days of sick leave in a year, paid at 70% of gross salary up to a cap of €110 per day. It is intended that the entitlement will rise to up to 10 days sick leave in a year by 2026.
The entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in over 4 years:
Sick days can be taken as consecutive days or non-consecutive days. The sick pay year is the calendar year, so it runs from 1 January to 31 December.
Under the sick leave legislation, you must be certified by a medical practitioner as unable to work to qualify for statutory sick pay. “An employee shall, in respect of a statutory sick leave day, provide his or her employer with a medical certificate in an official language of the State signed by a registered medical practitioner stating that the employee named in the certificate is unable to work.”
You should be certified from day 1 of your sick leave.
If you are off work sick for more than 3 days, and you have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for a payment called Illness Benefit. (as is currently). You can see the full details of the Sick Pay Act 2022 here.