We are often approached by clients seeking advice on accident at work sick pay entitlement. The information below sets out the background on current law and legislation in Ireland.
Is my employer obliged to pay me while I’m out after being injured at work?
Employers are not required by Irish law to provide occupational sick pay schemes for their staff. This means that if you’ve been injured at work there’s nothing in Irish legislation that provides that your employer is obliged to pay your wages while you’re off work due to your injuries. The principle underlying this is that employers pay social insurance while their employees are at work so that the State can provide injured workers with an income (in the form of social welfare payments) while they’re out of work due to their injuries.
However, the story doesn’t end there. There may well be a provision in your contract of employment that provides that you’re entitled to be paid in full during any absence from employment that arises due to illness or injury. Likewise, if there are any registered employment agreements (REAs), employment regulation orders (EROs), collective agreements, union-negotiated standard terms of employment, or long-established customary practices in your workplace that confer rights over and above the bare minimum statutory entitlements, you could be able to call upon your employer to pay some or all of your wages while you’re off work recovering from your injuries. For this reason, you should always consult a solicitor if your employer refuses to pay your wages while you’re out of work recovering from your accident.
What’s more, an employer cannot claim that any time off work due to injury has eaten into your entitlement to paid holiday leave as section 19 (2) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provides that any day where a person is certified as unfit for work cannot be regarded as a day of annual leave.
If you can’t work due to an injury you’ve suffered at work and your employer has no obligation to pay you during your absence you may also be entitled to a range of social welfare payments including disability benefit, invalidity pension, occupational injury benefit and disablement benefit.
If your employer isn’t obliged by law to pay your full wages while you’re out of work recovering from your injuries but does so anyway, while this would, of course, be very welcome, don’t assume that it amounts to an admission of guilt by your employer. They can make ex gratia payments of this nature without accepting liability to compensate you for your injuries. Accordingly, if you believe that you are entitled to damages for the pain and suffering which you’ve endured you should contact a solicitor specialising in work-related personal injury claims without delay to avoid your case being prejudiced for any reason.
Recovery of loss of earnings
Even where your employer has no contractual or other obligation to pay your wages while you’re out of work due to your injuries (with the result that your income during that period is confined to whatever social welfare payments you qualify for), you may still be able to bring a claim against them. If you are successful in your claim, not only will you be entitled to damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering but you will also be entitled to recover your loss of earnings. This will be the difference between the total amount of the after-tax earnings that you would have been paid had you not been off work due to your injuries less whatever social welfare payments you actually received in that period.
Accident at Work Sick Pay Entitlement Advice
If you have any questions relating to sick pay entitlement following an accident in the workplace, our live chat operator is available to help you with any queries you may have at any time or, you can just give us a call on our nationwide Local number 1800 390 555 during office hours. Our accident at work solicitors are based at our offices in Dublin and Cork, however, we assist people across the country from Limerick to Galway.
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