THE MINISTER FOR Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has welcomed a proposal by the Labour Court to halve the amount of paid sick leave granted to public service workers.
For almost 300,000 employees the present arrangement of six months sick leave on full pay, followed by six months on half pay within a four year period will be replaced by three months on full pay and three months on half pay from 2014.
A critical illness provision is also recommended under the new arrangements, which will see critical illness cover provided at six months on full pay and six months on half pay.
Howlin said that the current costs of sick leave stand at over €500 million annually, and said that the reforms will mean increased productivity, reductions in absenteeism and a reduction in costs.
Other changes include a maximum of seven self-certified paid sick leave days which will now apply over a two year period, rather than a one year period. The Labour Court has recommended that the changes to self-certified sick leave should come into effect as soon as possible.
The current arrangement also allows for a pension rate of pay to apply. This is to be replaced by a temporary rehabilitation payment which will be paid only for a period of eighteen months and only on the basis of a reasonable prospect of the employee returning to work.
The move has also been welcomed by Chambers Ireland, with Chief Executive Ian Talbot calling it a “positive announcement that will lead to enhanced productivity and cost savings across the wider public service”.