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What employment changes are effective from January 2022?

COVID-19 Update

Because of the large numbers of COVID 19 cases, the Government advice on testing and how to manage the close contacts situation is evolving and our advice is to continue to check our updates and also the HSA news feeds.

As of today 5th January 2022, the rules on testing is as follows:

1.If you have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • are aged between 4 and 39 then you should self-isolate immediately. You should take regular antigen tests instead of booking a PCR test. If you have a positive antigen test – then you should book a PCR test to confirm that you are COVID-19 positive. If you have repeated negative antigen tests you should still self-isolate for 48 hours after your symptoms have gone
  • if you are over 40 years old you should seek a PCR test as soon as you display symptoms of COVID-19
  • children aged 3 or under should be booked for a PCR test as soon as they display symptoms of COVID-19
  • if you are a healthcare worker then you should still book a PCR test as soon as you show any symptoms of COVID-19

2. If you have an underlying condition which puts you at higher risk of severe disease (or if you have a clinical concern) then you should contact your GP and be advised as to what is appropriate.

Claiming Covid Benefit of €350.00 per week

You can apply for the Covid-19 enhanced Illness Benefit if you:

  • Are suspected of having Covid-19 and are told by a doctor or the HSE to self-isolate or restrict your movements or
  • Are diagnosed with Covid-19.

To qualify for the payment you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66.
  • Have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from a doctor or have a text or letter notification from the HSE to support your application.
  • Be confined to your home or a medical facility.
  • Be employed in at least one of the 4 weeks before your medical certification and have a current contract of employment, if you are an employee.
  • Have worked immediately before your medical certification and will have reckonable income in the current contribution year, if you are self-employed.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

SSP is an employment right, which is due to come into effect over the next few months, where employees are entitled to claim 3 payable sick days.

Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110. The daily earnings threshold of €110 is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.16.

From 2023, the number of days will rise to 5 days and 7 days in 2024, and eventually by 2025, employers will be required to cover the cost of 10 sick days per year for all employees, either part time or full time, temporary or permanent, once the employee has completed at least 6 month’s service with the employer, their eligibility is established once they can provide a medical certificate.

Once entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions. In regard to the requirement of a doctor’s cert, employers can “choose” to trust their employees and not require one but that it is “reasonable” to include it in the Statutory requirement.

More information can be found here.

National minimum wage

The National minimum wage is increased from the 1st of January by 30 cent from €10.20 to €10.50 per hour.

More information can be found here.