Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Introduction of Statutory Sick Pay: Discussion

Mr. Neil McDonnell:

Yes, but I need to briefly clarify this point. If an employee's entitlement to annual leave is X number of days per annum, that becomes a structured, costed part of his or her remuneration. Any entitlement to statutory sick pay would have to be treated in the same way if a company was not to go bust, especially those that are more labour dependent.

Not being in receipt of any State moneys, I am afraid we are not in a position to survey membership about how many sick days employees take per annum. We are one of the very few associations one will talk to here that is not in receipt of direct State subvention, so we do not have the resources to do that. I would love to do it, if the Houses wish to resource me to do it, but I am not in a position to do it.

As to those entities where replacement is a necessity, that is very much a sectoral question, but I will give a broad answer. Typically, people in an office environment are not replaced when they go sick. In a lot of service entities, staff who are sick must be replaced because the service is sold at point of delivery, so if a cleaner, a security person or a hairdresser does not show up then one cannot deliver the service and therefore there is no turnover. In those types of service industries, replacement is typically 100% and then there are other areas where it is mixed. In construction, if one of a number of bricklayers on a site is missing then the work slows down for the day, but if the crane operator is missing then the crane does not work unless a replacement worker is found. I appreciate that that is a very segmented answer to the Senator's question, but I am doing my best to give her a clear answer.


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