New sick pay scheme costs '€1 per employee a week'
on 23/07/2012 00:00:00
She said the figure was "based on estimates of absenteeism in the private sector" and would apply if a sick pay scheme with a duration of four weeks were to be introduced.
Ms Burton's department said the figure was achieved by dividing the total workforce,1,821,000, into the €89m cost to employers to fund statutory sick pay if the rate is aligned with that paid under illness benefit and if the cut-off duration is four weeks. The €89m cost is currently paid by the State.
That division gives a cost per year of €48.87 per employee, or 94c per week.
Employers' body IBEC has said it opposes a statutory sick pay system, as it believes the idea runs counter to the thrust of the Action Plan for Jobs.
It says private sector employers already manage absenteeism and statutory sick pay would not enhance that. Its surveys have found an average absenteeism rate of 2.5 days, already lower than the 2004 average of 3.4 days.
It has also pointed out that the €89m cost to employers equates to employing 2,542 people on the average industrial wage of €35,000.
It is likely that changes to the sick pay regime will emerge in the 2013 budget.
Joan Burton said she was conscious of the pressures on employers. "In relation to the possible introduction of a scheme of statutory sick pay, a range of complex issues need to be addressed before any decision could be taken," she said.
"These include the extent of coverage; the duration of payment; the rate of payment; compensation mechanisms for employers where appropriate; and how to ensure that a scheme of statutory sick pay would be enforced and policed."