Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
28. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps his Department is taking to engage with payroll software developers in the planned roll-out of statutory sick pay for 2022; the degree of engagement that has taken place; his plans to open a consultation in advance of the roll-out; if his attention has been drawn to a perceived absence of a detailed specification of requirements regarding the calculation and reporting of the proposed statutory sick pay; and the date on which he plans to make that information available to the relevant stakeholders. [49489/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 29 together.
This Government is committed to introducing a statutory sick pay scheme and work is well underway in this regard.
Any move to introduce a statutory sick pay scheme must be balanced with the need to support the viability of the business and enterprise sector, thereby protecting jobs. Therefore, appropriate examination of all implications and consultation with stakeholders is essential to the development of the scheme. We do not want to jeopardise jobs by placing a cost and/or admin burden on business without working through all of the implications and potential solutions. This is why my Department undertook a full public consultation, reviewed international best practice, and formed an interdepartmental group – to ensure that all views and issues were properly considered in the development of the scheme.
Department officials are currently finalising the draft Heads of Bill in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. I will then seek Cabinet approval to publish the Bill over the coming weeks. It will also be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny which is to be carried out by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, following which the Bill will need to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas.
It is important that we continue to prioritise the completion of all steps required to get this Bill through the legislative process. We will then be in a position to communicate clear instructions on the detail of requirements for end-users.
Officials from my Department are very mindful of the important role played by the Payroll Software Developers and appreciate their offer to assist with the development of detailed guidelines and worked examples. A preliminary meeting has already been held. My officials will further engage with payroll software developers at the earliest opportunity, once the final key policy matters in relation to the scheme have been settled and well in advance of the commencement of the scheme.