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Debate on Sick Leave Welcome but Minister Burton Refuses to Engage

Oct 24, 2012

Chambers Ireland has today (24/10/12) welcomed Minister Joan Burton’s call for an open debate on the issue of sick leave following last night’s Dáil debate on this matter, but questioned how successful it will be considering the Minister appears not to be listening to the views of the business community on this issue.

Speaking this morning, Seán Murphy, Chambers Ireland Deputy Chief Executive said, “The only result of transferring the cost of sick pay onto employers is employment costs will rise when they clearly need to fall. The Minister claims this change will save her Department €89 million but if executed the real impact will be increased job losses and employment costs which will negate any so-called savings.”

“Total employment costs in Ireland are the tenth highest in the OECD. Ireland’s sick pay regime is not ‘unique’ and is similar to that which operates in France, Italy, Japan and Canada. It beggars belief that at a time when we need to secure every job and create employment that a Government Department is intent on using an easy option to tax employment further, thereby reducing future job opportunities in this economy,”

“If executed, this change will also result in employers paying for sick leave twice over. Employers currently pay billions in PRSI, which goes into the Social Insurance Fund, to cover the cost of sick leave. The Chamber Network would welcome the opportunity to engage in a fact based debate on this issue and to explain to the Minister how these proposals will damage employment.”

“It would be much better if the Minister focussed on containing costs by limiting sick pay claims in organisations such as the HSE where the annual cost of sick pay exceeds €250m, rather than transferring this flawed regime to the private sector,” he concluded.

-Ends-

For further information contact Amy Woods, Chambers Ireland on 01 400 4319, 086 6081605 or email amy.woods@chambers.ie .

Notes to Editor
Chambers Ireland Cost of Employment Survey
Chambers Ireland recently conducted a survey of members on the cost of employment, including a question on sick pay. The report is based on the 513 responses received.

Key Statistics
87.2% of respondents said the transfer of responsibility for sick pay to employers would have a negative impact on their business. When asked to identify specific issues:
• 42.2% said it would prevent job creation;
• 37.9% said it would lead to job losses; and
• 39.1% said it would make their business less competitive.

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