Sickness pay will be the same as wage increases of up to 3.5% per year for lower paid workers.
The new change will give all ordinary workers the right to up to 10 days of sick leave in a year from 2015, as the new benefit is introduced on a phased basis.
Next year will see the introduction of the right to three days, five days in 2023, seven in 2024, until the allowance of 10 days for 2025.
And the salary for those days will be a maximum of € 110 per day – or 70% of your daily salary.
Tánaiste and Enterprise Minister Leo Varadkar said the 10 days would amount to a 2.5% to 3.5% pay rise in 2025.
This compares extremely favorably with other jurisdictions, such as north of the border where the matching allowance is currently only worth £ 90 per week.
Mr. Varadkar has received Cabinet support for the proposals and presents legislation to put it into effect.
He said: “Ireland is one of the few advanced countries in Europe that does not have a compulsory sickness benefit scheme and although about half of employers offer sickness benefit, we need to make sure that every worker, especially lower paid workers in the private sector, have the security and peace of mind that if they fall ill and miss work, they will not lose a full day’s pay.
“I think this program can be one of the positive legacies of the pandemic as it will apply to all forms of disease and not just those related to Covid.”
Mr Varadkar added: “I think this reform is part of the dividend of the pandemic, the more inclusive economy and the fairer society that we will build once the pandemic is over.
“It’s not fair that people feel pressured to go to work when they are sick and it’s not good for public health.
“I know how difficult the past year and a half has been for workers and employers.
“We’re just getting back on our feet and we’re not out of the woods yet.
“By spreading this over a four-year period, we are taking a balanced approach to filling a well-known gap in our social protections while addressing the cost concerns of small businesses in today’s economic environment.
“The program is designed to be fair and affordable with a minimum of complexity and administrative burden for employers. “
The news was also well received by union representatives.
Irish Congress of Trade Union General Secretary Patricia King said: “Ireland is one of the few wealthy countries in the world that does not guarantee workers sick leave paid by their employer.
“It’s about to change.
“Following the ICTU’s public awareness campaign on one of the root causes of clusters of Covid-19 infection in meat processing plants and our calls to make sick leave a right workers, and our engagement with the government on the details of the program, legislation requiring employers to pay their staff when they are too sick to work has been proposed today. “