The Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations SI 124 of 2014 were signed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on 6th March 2014 and were laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. The Regulations came into effect in the majority of Public Service organisations on 31 March 2014 and will come into effect in the Education Sector on 1 September 2014.
The new Public Service Sick Leave Scheme as set out in the Regulations allows staff access to paid sick leave for a maximum of 6 months in a rolling four year period, comprising of 3 months on full pay, followed by 3 months on half pay in a rolling one year period. The Scheme also allows for the granting of Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (previously pension rate of pay). This payment may be paid for up to a maximum period of 18 months generally and only on the basis of a reasonable prospect of return to work by the staff member. It will be calculated on the basis of what an individual would be entitled to if they were to be paid an ill health pension at that time. A Critical Illness Protocol was also developed with the staff side which provides the basis for access to extended sick leave with pay. In the event that a staff member is diagnosed with a critical illness or serious physical injury they will be allowed access paid sick leave for a maximum of 12 months in a rolling four year period comprising of 6 months on full pay, followed by 6 months on half pay in a rolling one year period. This was agreed as part of the Labour Court recommendations.
The Regulations are being challenged in the High Court in two different cases. The four Associations representing An Garda Síochána (Chief Superintendents Association, Superintendents Association, Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors and Garda Representative Association) have a joint application for Judicial Review in the High Court in relation to the these Regulations. The Garda Associations sought an interim Injunction to restrain the application of the Regulations pending the outcome of the Judicial Review hearing. This application was refused and the main hearing for the Review is scheduled for mid-July. The Psychiatric Nurses Association have also been given leave to apply for a Judicial Review by the High Court. As both these cases are being dealt with by the Courts it would be inappropriate at this time to comment further on these matters.