Sick Leave & Covid-19

This article is for Employees who are wondering about payment while on sick leave.

One of the many questions in relation to employment law that have arisen with this coronavirus calamity is that employees are asking are they entitled to be paid while on sick leave ?.

sick leave covid 19

To get to the answer very quickly, the first step is to review the Contract of Employment.

Terms of Employment Act 1994 (as amended)

The reason why an employee with this question should firstly review their contract is because under the Terms of Employment Act 1994 employers are obligated to furnish to an employee the ‘terms of employment’.

There are many ‘terms of employment’ which the employer must furnish to the employee, but one of the term obligations includes any terms relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury and paid sick leave.

The bottom line is to first review what was agreed to between the parties in the Contract of Employment.

There should be a clause in the Contract dealing with sick leave.

What sick leave period am I entitled to ?

Again it is necessary to review the Contract of Employment.

It is important to note there is no Statutory rule in Ireland regarding an employer obligation to pay staff during a sick leave period.

Sick Leave Work Policy  

One should request a copy of any sick leave policy an employer has which should give detail regarding what is to happen during this period. It is also worthwhile to consider what is the employers workplace custom and practice regarding this matter is presently or historically.  

Illness Benefit for Covid-19

If one needs to apply for Illness Benefit in this national emergency, one can now apply for an increased illness benefit payment to the sum of €305 per week for self-isolation.

One must have been advised to self-isolate by a doctor or instead have been diagnosed with Covid–19. A person must have been advised to confine themselves to a medical facility or their home.

You can request a form to be sent by post by emailing

You will need Form IB 1 completed and submitted to welfare, and your doctor must have your name, PPSN number and date of birth.


Lay-offs will most likely be availed of by employers in the present circumstances.

The law on this is set out in Section 11. Of the Redundancy Payment Acts 1967.

The intent behind this legal rule and benefit for both employee and employer alike is that it is designed for a temporary situation. It is not a permanent termination of the employment and contract between the parties.  

Scenario – employer is not able to provide work for the current period, therefore the employee’s employment ceases, however, the employer believes that the cessation is only temporary and not permanent, then the employer can give notice to the employee prior to the cessation regarding the lay-off.

The only reason for ending the employment, temporarily, is due to the fact there is no work and it does not concern the employees performance or conduct, for example. The reason in the current climate is Covid-19.


Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute. Legal advice should be sought from a solicitor prior to relying on anything in this article.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

Sick Leave & Covid-19

Employment Law Articles

Roger Cleary

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