I have outlined my position on this matter in previous replies given to this House — most recently in reply to Question No. 9 (Ref. 11539/12) of 29 February last from Deputy Dara Calleary.
As I indicated at that time, the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, initiated a consultation process earlier this year on the feasibility and implications of introducing a statutory sick pay scheme. This was very much a first step in considering a range of issues that need to be examined in detail before any proposals can be progressed to possible implementation. Any formal proposals for changes in the sick pay scheme would have to be examined by Government as part of the Budgetary process.
However, to assist me in my consideration of these matters generally, I asked Forfás to examine the potential impact on competitiveness and employment of statutory sick pay, if such a scheme were to be introduced in this country. The report provided to me by Forfás forms part of a deliberative process of Government business, and it would not be appropriate for me to publish the report at this stage.