Accident at Work – Sick Pay Entitlements

If you were involved in an accident at work, you may be eligible for sick pay. However, the law does not require employers to have occupational sick pay schemes for their employees. This means that your employer is not obligated to pay you when you are away from work because of injuries or sickness. The social insurance that employers pay helps the State pay workers when they are away from work because of injuries.

Social Welfare & Sick Pay

Even though employers are not required to pay sick leave after an accident at work, there are times when they may have to. If your contract with them includes sick leave, you are eligible for sick pay. Industries such as construction and drapery may require employers to include sick pay in their contracts.

Some employers offer sick pay even when it isn’t in the contract. They may provide it from the first day of absence or after a specified period.

You may be eligible for certain benefits if you can’t work because you’re sick. Some of the benefits that you may get include; invalidity pension, disability pension, disablement benefit, and occupational injury benefit. The type of benefits you receive vary depending on the nature of your sickness.

How Many Sick Days Are You Entitled To?

Your Sick leave is any time that you stay off of work to focus on your health. Different employment contracts may allow you to have different numbers of sick days.

All employers have the obligation to provide their employees with a written contract. They should provide an employment contract within 5 days or less after starting the job. The contract must include the specific details of the sick days.

However, you can claim Illness Benefits from the first day you get sick. You can receive Illness Benefits for a maximum of 624 days. You don’t receive the payments unless you have paid a minimum of 260 weeks of PRSI contributions. You may also pay 312 payment days if you have 104-259 weeks of PRSI payments.

Long-Term Sick Leave Rights

In Ireland, teachers and civil servants are entitled to a sick leave scheme. It makes it possible for them to receive payments in case of absence from work due to an illness or injury. Some of the benefits that they may get include;

  • Up to 92 days full pay in one year rolling
  • Up to 91 days on half-pay in a one-year rolling period
  • Up to 183 days of a paid sick leave in four years rolling

You are considered to be on sick leave when you have been away from work for four weeks. The period doesn’t necessarily need to be continuous. The period of absence is linked if they are eight weeks or less apart and last a minimum of four days. Some companies may continue to pay your full salary for a specified period while you are away.

Employment Contract

Since employees have no statutory right to receive payment when on sick leave, it is left at the discretion of employers. Employees that are concerned about sick leave payment must find employers that can give favorable employment contracts. The Terms of Employment Act 1994 and 2001 demands that employers provide their employees with an employment contract. Different contracts have different policies. However, they must all be clear about what happens when an employee can’t work because of an injury or sickness.

Company Sick Pay Policy

You can find your sick pay policy in your employment contract. On average, 44% of employers offer sick pay. Most of them may pay your full pay for a specified period. If you work for a company with sick pay payment, the time you take off when sick does not affect your paid holiday leave.

You may also be eligible for full payment if you are covered by Registered Employment Agreements, union-negotiated terms, and Employment Regulation Orders.

If you are in doubt about your company sick pay policy, consult your solicitor and ask for their opinion. They may help you understand the terms of your contract and can provide advice after an accident at work regarding your legal options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do after an accident at work ?

After you attend to the medical care, report the accident to the employer.

While you are considering your options, it is very helpful if you write out the details of the facts to keep in case you are thinking of taking a case.

Facts and evidence get lost and it is to the detriment of many people who subsequently decide to take cases when it doesn’t need to be an issue.

How much do I get paid if injured at work ?

Is there provision for this in a clause in the Employment Contract ? or is there a custom and practice with the particular employer to do so ? needs to be assessed to answer this.

How do I claim for an accident at work ?

An initial step for any injured party who wishes to initiate a personal injury* claim is to make an application to the Board after sending the letter of claim to the party allegedly responsible for the accident. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a statutory body that carries out its own private, independent assessment of a persons personal injury* claim. It will not assess claims regarding the provision of any medical or surgical procedure in relation to a person, or the provision of any medical advice or treatment to a person.

A purely paper-based system, it never carries out oral hearings but assesses claims with regard to medical evidence, such as the medical report furnished by the injured party to the Board.

If the person who caused the injury consents to the Injuries Board assessing the application, or if they fail to state in writing whether they consent to the assessment or not, the Injuries Board will proceed to carry out the assessment.

If the person who causes the accident states in writing that they do not consent to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the Injuries Board will issue whats termed an authorisation, which permits the applicant (injured party) to bring legal proceedings.

Can I claim for an accident at work that was my fault ?

If you are the cause of your own injury and no negligence arises, then in our opinion, it is imprudent to commence such an action.

What happens if an accident at work is not reported ?

If an employee does not report an accident to an employer, and subsequently decides to take a case, this can be problematic for the employee when the question is asked as to why it was not reported.

How do you record accidents at work ?.

Employers should have Accident Report Forms which can be completed and the employer should be notified also with any means possible.

What accidents should be reported to HSE ?

The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Regulations 2016 require reporting of accidents and record keeping in certain circumstances such as:

  • Where an employee dies as a result of an accident at their place of work or in the course of carrying out their work in a location other than their normal place of work;
  • an employee, as a result of an accident at their place of work or in the course of carrying out their work in a location other than their normal place of work, is prevented from performing their normal work for more than 3 consecutive days, excluding the day of the accident but including any days which would not have been working days;
  • an employee dies within one year as a result of an accident at their place of work or in the course of carrying out their work in a location other than their normal place of work;
  • any person who is not at work but who as a result of an accident related to a place of work or a work activity dies, within one year of the accident;
  •  any person who is not at work but who as a result of an accident related to a place of work or a work activity suffers any injury or condition which, due to the nature or severity of the injury or condition, results in the person being taken from the location of the accident to receive treatment in respect of that injury in a hospital or medical facility, or
  • there is a dangerous occurrence.

Can a job (employer) fire you for getting injured ?

The Unfair Dismissals Acts govern this area of the law and if you are injured and operating under a disability, an employer who terminates the employment of an injured employee, may contravene the Equality Acts in addition to possibly contravening the Unfair Dismissals legislation.

What are the accident reporting procedures ?

Different employers may have different reporting procedures as some places of employment evidently operate under a higher risk of accidents occuring than others.

How long does an accident at work claim take ?

There is no one singular answer that can be given which works for everybody.

It depends on the individual case for many reasons, but we will give a general guide here.

Accident* at work claims must be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. On average, claims made to PIAB are assessed within 9 months from the date the Board notifies the party who the claim is taken against.

If the case is dealt with and concluded at this point to the satisfaction of the parties, the entire timeframe could be 9 months to one year. If the matter is not dealt with by the Injuries Board, the injured party may have the option of proceeding to court to seek a Judgement from the court.

Some factors that may affect how long a case takes include:

  • Once an application has been made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, it usually takes between 9 months to 1 year before it is concluded.
  • If one of the parties does not agree to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the matter can proceed to court.
  • If an assessment sum is not agreed to by one party, the matter can proceed to court.
  • How long will the court case process take depends on various factors, such as, is the case straightforward for complex ?.
  • Is there one injury or multiple injuries ?.
  • What is the attitude of the defendant to the case ?.
  • Has liability been admitted or is it contested ?.
  • Has the injury stabilised ?.
  • Has the treatment concluded ?. Has the injured parties doctors recommended further treatment ?. Detail of the further treatment is then required.
  • What number of experts reports are required ?.
  • Is it easy or difficult to obtain expert reports ?.
  • Is it easy or difficult to obtain medical records ?.
  • Have the legal pleadings concluded. In the High Court the defence must be provided to the injured parties solicitor within 8 weeks from the time the summons is served. This is not a long time, and in personal injury* cases one must proceed step by step in conjunction with the guidance of the doctor(s) assisting the injured party. Medical care can take time, recovery can take time, and guidance from the doctor and the patients thoughts on their own rehabilitation are important considerations in terms of assessing controlling the speed of a case.

DISCLAIMER

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.

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.

In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.