This week, on 20th July, the Sick Leave Bill 2022 became law. Once the law is commenced, employees in Ireland will be entitled to sick pay. The Irish Government first produced a draft to introduce a new Sick Leave Bill back in November last year. An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, announced in March 2022, that the Sick Leave Bill was approved by cabinet and will legislate for a statutory sick pay scheme for all employees, which will be phased in over a four-year period. Before the law was passed, Ireland was one of the few countries in Europe who were without mandatory sick leave entitlement. Before the Sick Leave Act, only about half of all employers had their own sick pay scheme. The Covid-19 pandemic helped to highlight the need for such a scheme to be introduced into Ireland.
When the law is commenced, which is expected to happen shortly, employees will be entitled to three statutory sick days. This will rise to five days in 2024, seven days in 2025 and to ten days in 2026. Employers will pay employees at a rate of 70% of an employees’ wage, subject to a daily maximum threshold of €110. These earnings are based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and an annual salary of €40,889.16.
The rate of 70% and the daily cap are there to ensure excessive costs are not placed solely on the employer. The introduction of the new Sick Leave Bill is to provide a minimum level of protection to low paid employees, who may not be entitled to a company sick pay scheme.
If your business does not have a sick leave scheme set in place already, the new legislation being introduced will act as your sick pay scheme. Employers must keep a record of all employees who have availed of the scheme for up to four years, those who fail to keep a record may be fined up to €2,500.
To ensure that your employees are entitled to receive sick leave pay under the scheme, they must obtain a medical certificate as proof, and must have worked for their employer for a minimum of 13 weeks. If your employees’ sick pay entitlement is finished, and they need extra time off, they may be able to qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection, depending on their PRSI contribution.
The new Sick Leave Bill will help ensure employees are not penalised for missing days due to illness. Once the law is commenced, your payroll software should be updated to cater for this new employee entitlement.
Safeguarding your business for the future is crucial. This could mean protecting your business against threats like cyber-attacks or implementing changes that ensure your business can grow successfully. Streamlining your current business processes can allow you to work more efficiently, while also preparing you for business expansion or any unforeseen events the future might bring.
To improve your business, it is essential to keep up with the latest technology. Examples of this could be backing up your data to the cloud, going paperless, or using an employee self-service app to take care of HR tasks.
Payroll software, Thesaurus Payroll Manager, offers a cloud-extension product called Thesaurus Connect that is a one-stop shop for all your business's payroll and HR needs. Thesaurus Connect offers a number of features that can help you to streamline your business processes, and safeguard for the future.
Cyberthreats are extremely common, in 2021, it was reported by the Irish Examiner that 90% of Irish businesses had seen a rise in cyber-attacks in the previous twelve months. Therefore, backing up your data to somewhere other than your computer’s hard drive is vital for keeping you and your employees’ data safe. Using cloud storage to back up your data is not only convenient for the user as it doesn’t require the use of external hard drives, but it also helps ensure that your data is safe from hackers or cyber-attacks.
Thesaurus Connect, when used alongside Thesaurus Payroll Manager, can help protect your company against ransomware attacks by storing all your payroll data in the cloud. Thesaurus Connect automatically backs up your payroll data to the cloud every 15 minutes, and once again when closing down the employer file, making sure your data is safe. You can restore a backup on your PC or you can simply download a backup onto a new computer, making it easy to access, anywhere, any time. This means that should the worst happen, for example, if your computer is stolen or damaged, you will always be able to retrieve your payroll data.
When you connect your payroll software to Thesaurus Connect, you can invite your employees to access the employee self-service app. This can be downloaded on any smartphone or tablet device, or it can be accessed through an internet browser. Through the app, your employees will be able to access and download all their new and historic payslips, meaning you won’t need to distribute them or send them past payslips when they are requested. This will give you more time for other important tasks, rather than wasting time trawling through files. As well as this, if your employee’s personal details change (e.g., they move house or change mobile number), they can change these details themselves through the employee self-service app.
Documents which you want employees to read can also be uploaded to Thesaurus Connect’s online dashboard. You can then choose which employees will have access to these documents, and employees will be able to view them through the employee portal. As a lot of employees now work remotely or work a hybrid working model, sharing documents through Thesaurus Connect can be a simple way of ensuring that important documents are read, such as contracts of employment or a staff handbook.
As an employer, it can be difficult to juggle many tasks at once. One task which is essential, but can become difficult to manage, is dealing with annual leave requests from employees. Thesaurus Connect allows your employees to request annual leave through the employee app. You can then approve or deny the request from Thesaurus Connect’s online dashboard. This allows you to deal with annual leave requests in a way that is transparent and fair. Through the online dashboard, you can also view a companywide leave calendar, which allows you to easily track which employees are on leave, and the type of leave they are on. Other team members can be delegated the task of dealing with annual leave requests for selected employees, taking another job off your plate.
Ultimately, Thesaurus Payroll Manager’s cloud extension, Thesaurus Connect, will help you optimise your time, safeguarding future growth and development.
Why not book a free 20 minute demonstration of Thesaurus Connect to see the benefits for yourself.