Legal Guides

Sick Pay Entitlements

An accident at work or any other kind of personal injury can be a very stressful time not only physically and emotionally but financially, where a person cannot return to work following an injury. A common question we get asked from clients is whether they’re entitled to sick pay following an accident at work.

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Am I entitled to sick pay while I’m out of work, following an accident at work?

Employers and employees alike pay Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI). This is to cover social welfare payments and entitlements such as illness benefit. An employee can claim from the social welfare if they are unfit for work as a result of an accident. Under Irish Law, there is no obligation for an employer to pay while out on sick leave.

Can an employer choose to pay sick pay while I am out to work with an injury?

An employer can choose to pay some or all of your wages while you are on sick leave. However, this payment is at their own discretion. This may be your average weekly earnings or less. If your employer does pay you sick pay, then the employee will be able to apply for illness/disablement benefit payment from the Department of Social Protection –Illness/Disablement/Supplementary Welfare Allowance – and will then request for this payment to be paid over to them for as long as the employee is in receipt of the sick pay.

If you miss work due to a work-related injury, you should check the terms of your contract of employment. This might include sick pay provisions or may provide an occupational sick pay scheme.

Is my sick pay affected if I am making an accident at work claim*?

If you are making a claim for compensation for an accident at work, you should be careful to check the terms of any sick pay scheme your employer is offering. If you bring a claim that is successful, you may be required to pay back the sick pay you received. This pay was for recovering from your injury from the compensation amount you receive.

If the injury you are suffering from is one which was caused by an accident at work, claimants are usually concerned about making a claim against their employer in case their payment of wages ceases. It is also worth noting that just because an employer continues to pay an employee while unfit for work due to a work-related injury, that payment is not considered an admission of liability by the employer.

My employer does not pay sick leave, what should I do?

Regardless of whether the accident was at work or elsewhere, if you are not in receipt of pay while you are unable to work due to an accident or occupational disease, all is not lost. If your employer does pay you sick pay, then the employee will be able to apply for occupational injury benefits. If you are bringing a claim for compensation following an accident at work, you can include in your claim that you suffered a loss of earnings. The loss of earnings you suffer amounts to any payment that you lost out on. This loss was because you were unable to return to work because of the injury sustained at work.

Your employer will be required to certify your loss of earnings. In addition, a certificate of incapacity to work should be submitted to your employer for their records. Copies of these medical certificates should also be given to your solicitor as part of your claim. If you are successful in your claim for injuries, you will then be compensated for the loss. It is important to note however that you do have a duty to mitigate your loss. Once you’re medically certified to return to work, an employee should do so to avoid incurring any further loss of earnings. This may not be recoverable.

How much is my claim worth?

Following an accident at work, the value of your claim will depend on factors such as:

  • The severity of your injury
  • The cause of your accident
  • Your medical bills
  • Your future medical care
  • Your lost earnings
  • Your future lost earnings

The Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines provide us with general guidelines as to how much compensation may be awarded in a personal injury claim and is used by the Injuries Board when they are assessing a personal injury claim.

For more information, check out our compensation claims estimator to learn how to estimate your claim.