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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case IE-2020-11/783 Updated – measures in Ireland

Increased illness benefit for COVID-19 absences

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 13 March 2020 – 08 February 2022
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Paid sick leave
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Case created 25 April 2020 (updated 23 July 2021)

Background information

This is a boosted illness benefit entitlement for workers absent from work due to self-isolation or COVID-related medical treatment. When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) due to being a possible source of infection or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week.

To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.

The related legislation is: S.I. No. 97/2020 - Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) (Amendment) (No. 4) (Illness Benefit Payments Arising from COVID-19) Regulations 2020. It was passed on 3 April, but with from 9 March 2020.

Content of measure

To receive the enhanced payment, a worker must be self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or the Health Service Executive (HSE) due to being a possible source of infection or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and absent from work and confined to home or a medical facility.

The personal rate for this payment is €350, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203. It was originally set at a rate of €305 but was increased by Government on March 24.

It will be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks where a person is self-isolating due to being a possible source of infection, and for a maximum of 10 weeks if a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). If a person has been certified for less than 10 weeks, they will be paid for the duration of their certificate.

Application can be done online or by post with supporting documentation from an individual worker's doctor.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

02 July 2021

This is extended until 8 February 2022.

23 February 2021

Government announced this is extended until the end of June 2021.

Use of measure

Figures from the Department of Social Protection show that up to 9th March 2021, 140,249 people have been medically certified for receipt of a COVID-19 related Illness Benefit payment; 75,631 are female and 64,618 are male. The Wholesale and Retail Trade and Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the sector with highest number of people certified (at 30,697). This was followed by Human Health And Social Work activities at 25,901 and Manufacturing at 19,204.

Between March and November 2020, a cumulative total of 81,999 people under the age of 66 have been medically certified for receipt of the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

No involvement.

Views and reactions

No involvement.

Sources

  • 03 April 2020: S.I. No. 97/2020 - Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) (Amendment) (No. 4) (Illness Benefit Payments Arising from Covid-19) (www.irishstatutebook.ie)
  • 25 April 2020: Gov.ie (www.gov.ie)
  • 23 February 2021: Pandemic Unemployment Payment & Enhanced Illness Benefit to continue until end June – Minister Humphreys (www.gov.ie)
  • 10 March 2021: Update on payments awarded for COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit (www.gov.ie)
  • 10 March 2021: Update on Payments Awarded for Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit
  • 02 July 2021: COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit (www.citizensinformation.ie)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Increased illness benefit for COVID-19 absences, case IE-2020-11/783 (measures in Ireland), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.