Parliamentary Question No: 258 Ref No: 40633-12
To the Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Minister for Social Protection if a regulatory impact analysis has been or will be conducted on the sick pay proposals which she is considering on account of the uncertainty the proposals have created and the negative effects such proposals could have on job retention.
R E P L Y (Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D):
The government is considering the introduction of a scheme of statutory sick pay at this time for a number of reasons – chiefly as a measure to help in addressing the growing deficit in the Social Insurance Fund (which stood at €1.5bn in 2011 and is expected to rise to €3.0bn in 2019 as outlined in the Actuarial Review of the fund which I launched last week), and as a policy measure to reduce the risk of progression from short-term illness to long-tern illness or disability. The introduction of such a scheme would also bring Ireland into line with practice in other countries in this area.
However, there is a range of complex issues that needs to be addressed before any decision is taken by government on the possible introduction of such a scheme – including the extent of coverage; the rate of payment; possible compensation mechanisms for employers where appropriate, and how the scheme would be enforced and policed – and these will be discussed as part of the preparatory work for Budget 2013.
I should point out that while I am acutely conscious of the pressures facing employers in the current economic climate, and the concerns expressed by small and medium sized enterprises in particular regarding the introduction of a scheme of statutory sick pay, a regulatory impact analysis is not undertaken on the package of measures announced in the annual Budget Day statement.