I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 242 together.
A range of complex issues needs to be addressed before any decision could be taken by Government on the possible introduction of such a scheme. These include the extent of coverage; the duration of payment; the rate of payment; compensation mechanisms for employers; and how to ensure such a scheme would be enforced and policed.
Earlier this year, I hosted a consultative forum on the feasibility and implications of introducing a scheme of statutory sick pay, a report of which is on the Department's website. This afforded an opportunity to key stakeholders to discuss the complex issues involved, including those to which the Deputy refers in the question.
I can assure the Deputy that all these issues will be considered and taken into account in the course of the wider process associated with the preparation of Budget 2013 and any decision which might be taken by the Government on the possible introduction of a scheme of statutory sick pay will be considered in that context.