Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Questions (133)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

134 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider the very genuine concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32584/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The question of introducing a scheme of statutory sick pay, whereby employers would directly meet the costs of sick absence for an initial period of illness is being considered in the context of the need to reform the social welfare system to bring it into line with practices in other countries in this area; the need to address the deficit in the social insurance fund; the need to limit progression from short-term illness to long-term illness or disability; and in the wider context of enhancing the health of the workforce and addressing levels of absenteeism.

A report of a consultative seminar on the feasibility and implications of introducing a scheme of statutory sick pay held in February 2012 is now available on the Department's website.

Amongst other things, the report reflects the concerns expressed by organisations representing smaller enterprises, such as those raised in the correspondence received by the Deputy, and these very real concerns will be taken into account as the range of complex issues associated with the introduction of such a scheme continue to be considered.

The issues involved will be discussed in the course of the wider process associated with the preparation of Budget 2013 and any decisions which might be taken by Government on the possible introduction of a statutory sick pay scheme will be considered in that context.