If you have sustained an accident in the workplace that requires you to take a significant amount of time off from your job, you are likely to have concerns about how you will be able to support yourself financially whilst taking leave of your employment. Fortunately, there are various protections under Irish law available to you, including statutory sick pay and Pay-Related Social Insurance.
Here we answer some of the common questions posed to our personal injury team in relation to sick pay entitlement following an accident at work.
Am I entitled to sick pay following an accident at work?
In the past, you had no legal right to be paid whilst on leave from work due to accident or illness. This changed with the introduction of the Sick Leave Act 2022, which came into effect on the 1st January 2023. Since this date, all employees have a right to 3 days statutory sick pay a year, however, you must have been employed by your employer for 13 weeks before you can access it. From the 1st January 2024, statutory sick pay will increase to 5 days, then 7 days in 2025 and 10 days in 2026. Further information on this can be viewed on the Workplace Relations Commission website. Be sure to check your contract with your employers, as many organisations offer more generous sick pay schemes beyond the legal requirements of statutory sick pay (the minimum amount an employer has to offer).
What is Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI)?
PRSI is a contribution made by employees and employers to the national Social Insurance Fund. This contribution, deducted from employees’ wages, entitles individuals to a range of social welfare benefits, including unemployment benefits, state pensions, and maternity benefits. The amount of PRSI paid depends on earnings and employment type. PRSI ensures that workers are financially supported in times of need, such as unemployment, illness, or retirement. It’s a crucial part of Ireland’s social security system, providing a safety net for workers and their families.
How can I check if I am entitled to PRSI?
To check if you are entitled you should review your payslip, which typically details PRSI contributions. Additionally, you can contact your employer or the Human Resources department for information about your PRSI status. For a more detailed overview, you can also request a statement of your PRSI contributions from the Department of Social Protection. This statement will provide a record of your contributions and help determine your entitlements under the PRSI system. It’s essential to ensure your contributions are correctly recorded to access social insurance benefits when needed.
Can I claim on Pay-Related Social Insurance if I have had an accident at work?
Yes, you can claim on PRSI if you have had an accident at work. PRSI contributions provide eligibility for Injury Benefit, a payment made to those who cannot work due to a work-related injury. To claim this benefit, you must have made sufficient PRSI contributions before the accident. The claim process involves obtaining a medical certificate from your doctor and submitting it to the Department of Social Protection. It’s important to start this process promptly after the accident to ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
How much can I claim on PRSI following an accident and for how long?
Injury Benefit under PRSI pays a maximum weekly personal rate of €220, with increases for adult and child dependants. This may be subject to change, so be sure to check the Citizens Information website for the latest weekly injury benefit rates. The benefit is typically paid for up to 26 weeks, excluding the first 3 days of your illness or incapacity.
Are there any other benefits available to me if I am still unable to work after 26 weeks due to an injury?
If you’re still unable to work after 26 weeks, you may be eligible for the Illness Benefit or the Disability Allowance. The Illness Benefit is for those with a shorter-term incapacity, while the Disability Allowance is for longer-term incapacities and is means-tested. These benefits offer financial support when you’re unable to work due to health reasons. The eligibility and amount depend on your specific circumstances, including PRSI contributions and personal income. It’s recommended to consult the Department of Social Protection for detailed information and assistance in applying for these benefits.
Can I claim Injury Benefit and receive sick pay from my employer?
If you receive sick pay from work and Injury Benefit, you should discuss any specific arrangements with your employer, as they might have policies in place regarding the combination of these payments. There might be a provision in your employment contract concerning how Injury Benefit payments are handled, often involving adjustments to the total compensation received.
Will I have to pay back sick pay payments if I win a personal injury claim?
If you are successful in bringing a personal injury claim following an accident at work, you may be required to pay back the sick pay you received from your employer. This repayment is typically deducted from the compensation amount you receive for recovering from your injury. It’s important to check the terms of any sick pay scheme your employer offers when starting the process of bringing your claim.
Furthermore, if you successfully claim against your employer, you are entitled to recover your loss of earnings. This amount is calculated as the difference between your after-tax earnings had you not been off work due to your injuries and any social welfare payments you received during that period.
Therefore, when pursuing a claim, it’s crucial to understand the implications on sick pay and discuss these matters with your solicitor to ensure a clear understanding of any financial adjustments that may occur because of the claim.
Concerned about your sick pay entitlement following an injury at work?
If you have sustained an injury in the workplace and you have further questions in relation to sick pay and bringing an injury claim, the personal injury team at McCarthy + Co will be glad to assist you. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as we can.