Sick Pay Entitlements After an Accident: What You Need to Know

Understanding Sick Pay Entitlements After an Accident: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the complexities of sick pay entitlements after an accident can be daunting. However, understanding your rights and options is crucial for ensuring financial stability during recovery. This guide aims to provide employees and claimants with in-depth information on sick pay entitlements, particularly in the context of accidents at work, to help you make informed decisions and safeguard your well-being.

Claiming Loss of Earnings for a Workplace Accident

Repaying Sick Pay

If you are claiming compensation for an accident at work, be aware that you may be required to repay any sick pay received. However, an employer’s decision to continue paying an employee who is out sick due to a work-related injury is not considered an admission of liability.

Loss of Earnings

If your employer does not provide sick leave, you can include your loss of earnings in your compensation claim following an accident at work. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Certification: Your employer will need to certify your loss of earnings.
  2. Medical Certificates: Submit all relevant medical certificates to your employer and provide copies to your solicitor as part of your claim.

Compensation for Injuries

If your compensation claim is successful, you will be compensated for the loss of earnings, among other damages. It’s essential to return to work as soon as you are medically certified to do so, to avoid any further loss of earnings.

Steps to Take After an Accident

  1. Report the Accident: Immediately report the accident to your employer and ensure it is documented.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Consult a healthcare professional to assess and document your injuries.
  3. Check Your Contract: Review your employment contract for any sick pay provisions or occupational sick pay schemes.
  4. Claim Social Welfare Benefits: If your employer does not provide sick pay, apply for available illness benefits through the Department of Social Protection.
  5. Consult a Solicitor: For legal advice and to initiate a compensation claim, consult with a solicitor specialising in personal injury.
  6. Submit Documentation: Provide all necessary documentation, including medical certificates and proof of loss of earnings, to your solicitor.

Sick Pay Entitlements

If you find yourself unable to return to work due to an injury, the financial implications can be significant. Fortunately, you may be entitled to claim sick pay following an accident at work. Both employers and employees contribute to Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI), which covers various social welfare entitlements, including illness benefits. As an employee out of work due to an injury, you may be eligible to claim sick pay under this scheme.

Your Rights During Sick Leave

Your employment rights are protected while you are on sick leave. You are considered to be in employment during this period, which means your rights and entitlements remain intact.

What Happens If I Am Off Sick During Public Holidays?

If You Work Full-Time

If you’re a full-time employee and are on sick leave during a public holiday, you have two options:

  1. You can receive sick pay or Illness Benefit for the public holiday you miss.
  2. Alternatively, your employer can treat you as not being on sick leave for the public holiday and pay you as normal for that day. In this case, the public holiday will not count as a sick leave day.

If You Work Part-Time

Part-time employees are entitled to time off work for the public holiday if they have worked at least 40 hours over the previous five weeks. However, you are not entitled to pay or time off for the public holiday if you are on sick leave immediately before the public holiday and fall under either of the following exceptions:

  • You have been off work for more than 26 weeks due to an ordinary illness or accident.
  • You have been off work for more than 52 weeks due to an occupational accident.

What Happens to My Annual Leave When I Am Off Sick?

If you fall ill during your annual leave and obtain a medical certificate, those days will not count as annual leave days. Your employer cannot force you to take annual leave on days you are off sick with a medical certificate. Additionally, you can continue to accrue annual leave entitlement while on sick leave, provided you have a medical certificate.

If you are on long-term sick leave and cannot take your annual leave due to illness, you can carry it over for up to 15 months after the end of the year you accumulated it. If you leave your job within these 15 months, you are entitled to receive holiday pay instead of the unused annual leave days.

Sick Leave During Probation, Training, or Apprenticeship

Your employer can suspend your probation, training, or apprenticeship for the duration of your sick leave. The days you miss can be added to the end of your probation, training, or apprenticeship period.

Statutory Sick Pay Entitlements Starting in 2024

Since 1 January 2024, the statutory sick pay entitlement has increased to five days per year (up from three days in 2023). Here are the key details:

  • Coverage: Five days of sick pay per calendar year.
  • Rate: 70% of your normal pay, up to a maximum of €110 per day.
  • Eligibility: You must have worked for your employer for at least 13 weeks and be certified by a GP as unable to work.

The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Scheme

The SSP scheme is being phased in as follows:

  • 2024: 5 days covered
  • 2025: 7 days covered
  • 2026: 10 days covered

Sick days can be taken consecutively or non-consecutively within the calendar year.

Eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay

To qualify for SSP, you must:

  • Be an employee
  • Have worked for your employer for at least 13 continuous weeks
  • Be certified by a GP as unable to work

Part-time workers and those with multiple jobs are also eligible for SSP, provided they meet the criteria.

Medical Certification

You must be certified by a GP as unable to work to qualify for SSP. This certification should start from day one of your sick leave, and your employer cannot impose waiting days before you receive your statutory sick pay.

Calculation of Sick Pay

Your statutory sick leave payment must be paid at your normal daily rate, which includes any regular bonuses or allowances (excluding overtime or commission). The maximum sick pay is capped at €110 per day.

Part-Time Workers

For part-time workers, sick pay is calculated based on their work pattern. If your pay varies from week to week, your sick pay is the average of your pay over the 13 weeks before your sick leave.

Employer’s Own Sick Pay Scheme

If your employer offers a more generous sick pay scheme, your sick leave will be managed under that scheme. However, it must be more favourable than the statutory scheme overall.

Impact on Illness Benefit

If you are off work for more than five days and have sufficient PRSI contributions, you can apply for Illness Benefit from the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Illness Benefit starts from day six. If you have already used your five days of statutory sick leave and fall ill again within the same year, you can claim Illness Benefit from day four of your illness.


Understanding your sick pay entitlements after an accident is vital for ensuring financial security during recovery. By knowing your rights and the processes involved, you can navigate this challenging time with greater ease and confidence. If you encounter any issues or have questions about your entitlements, don’t hesitate to seek advice and support from relevant authorities and organisations.

For more detailed information and to stay updated on changes to sick pay entitlements, consider subscribing for our latest updates and insights.

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