Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

General Scheme of the Sick Leave Bill 2021: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Marie SherlockMarie Sherlock (Labour)
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I thank ICTU and IBEC for attending. As I said at the previous meeting, I am relieved and frustrated in equal measure that we are eventually having the pre-legislative scrutiny of this important proposed legislation. Enormous credit goes to ICTU and to my union, SIPTU, in terms of putting this issue very much on the map some 12 months ago. My big regret, perhaps, is that it has taken until now for us to talk about introducing this proposed legislation. Nonetheless, we are here today.

I have a number of questions. It is important for me to mention the importance of hardwiring some of the detail into the legislation, which I believe Senator Gavan, the ICTU and others also spoke about. I am very supportive of that. I will turn to IBEC first regarding the question of replacement costs and productivity losses or, as Deputy Stanton alluded to, long-term productivity gains.

I note that IBEC undertook a survey of its members with regard to sick pay arrangements within their workplaces. Was a question about the replacement cost of a person being out of work because of illness asked in that survey? It is important that we understand there is a replacement cost but we must also understand the extent of that replacement cost in any one workplace.

As a follow-up to that, has IBEC looked at research on the productivity loss from staff members being out ill? Is the loss linear? To me, the loss from a staff member being out one day is not the equivalent of his or her being out six days. It seems to me the loss would be much greater if somebody was out of work for a protracted period of time as opposed to one or two days. I know that the productivity loss is a concern to IBEC. What research has it looked at to quantify the scale of the loss within workplaces?