Public Service Sick Leave Scheme
The Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) (Amendment) Act 2013 was enacted in December 2013 and provides the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with the power to make regulations that will set out specific details of the new Sick Leave Scheme for the Public Service. The details of this Scheme are set out in Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations (SI 124 of 2014) and Public Service Management (Sick Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 SI 384 of 2015. A Guide to the Regulations is available and must be read in conjunction with the Regulations.
Public Service Sick Leave Statistics
The Public Service Sick Leave Statistics for 2015 see the working days lost to sick leave drop below 4.0% for the first time to 3.9%. On average 8.5 working days were taken per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) in the Public Service (down from 9.5 days in 2013). The overall cost of sick leave in the Public Service is estimated at €317.9 million for 2015 which represents a cumulative saving of €104.4 million since 2013.
These statistics show the continued impact of the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme which came into effect in the majority of sectors on 31st March 2014 and the Education Sector on 1st September 2014. Please see also Public Service Sick Leave Statistics for 2014 and 2013.
Sick Leave in the Civil Service
The administrative arrangements for the Civil Service are set out in Circular 12 of 2015 and must be read in conjunction with the Regulations.
Paid Sick Leave
The new scheme provides for the payment of the following to staff during periods of absence from work due to illness or injury:
- A maximum of 92 days on full pay in a rolling one year period
- Followed by a maximum of 91 days on half pay in a rolling one year period
- Subject to a maximum of 183 days paid sick leave in a rolling four year period
Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration
Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (TRR) was formerly referred to as Pension Rate of Pay (PRP) and will be calculated and awarded in the same way. It will only be payable when there is a realistic prospect of an individual returning to work. The key change in the move from PRP to TRP is that the maximum period for which TRR can be paid is 547 days under ordinary sick leave arrangements.
Critical Illness Provisions (CIP)
In recognition of the fact that, sometimes, a longer period of sick leave can be required to address a critical illness or serious physical injury, there is provision for the following to apply in exceptional circumstances:
- A maximum of 183 days on full pay in a rolling one year period
- Followed by a maximum of 182 days on half pay in a rolling one year period
- Subject to a maximum of 365 days paid sick leave in a rolling four year period
There will be access to TRR under the CIP as follows:
- 365 days on TRR
- a further period not exceeding 730 days may be granted in cases where the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has confirmed that there is a reasonable prospect of return to work. Such cases must be directly linked to the critical illness and will normally follow a continuous period of long term sick leave. This is subject to six monthly reviews.
Granting of Critical Illness ProvisionsThe decision to grant extended sick leave for a critical illness or serious physical injury is made by the HR Manager in the Department/Office and is based on medical advice from the CMO.
The Critical Illness Protocol sets out the criteria which must be met in order to be granted access to critical illness provisions. The key criteria are:
- 1. The civil servant must be, in the opinion of the CMO, medically unfit to return to his or her current duties or (where practicable) modified duties in the same pay grade;
- 2. The nature of their medical condition must have at least one of the following characteristics:
a) Acute life threatening physical illness
b) Chronic progressive illness, with well-established potential to reduce life expectancy 1
c) Major physical trauma ordinarily requiring corrective acute operative surgical treatment
d) In-patient hospital care of two consecutive weeks or greater .
Civil servants who wish to apply for CIP must fill out a CIP application form and submit it to their HR Manager.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to the new Scheme in the Civil Service are available here.