Sick Leave Entitlements

Sick leave entitlements in the public sector

  • In determining whether an individual may be granted access to exceptional extended paid sick leave the following criteria apply: 

    The employee should ordinarily be under the current or recent clinical care of a consultant either as an inpatient or outpatient. This excludes employees attending primarily for report preparation or medico- legal purposes.

    The case must be referred by the employer to its occupational health service for medical advice.

    The employee is responsible for providing any treating doctor’s medical reports requested within an appropriate timeframe to avail of the exceptional extended paid sick leave. A treating consultant’s specialism must be appropriate to the critical illness for which the employee is making a claim.

    The occupational physician, from the employer’s occupational health service, will advise whether, in their opinion, the following criteria are met: 

    i. The employee is medically unfit to return to his or her current duties or (where practicable) modified duties in the same pay grade

    ii. The nature of this medical condition has at least one of the following characteristics:

    (a) Acute life-threatening physical illness 

    (b) Chronic progressive illness, with well-established potential to 
                reduce life expectancy 

    (c) Major physical trauma ordinarily requiring corrective acute 
               operative surgical treatment 

    (d) In-patient or day hospital care of ten consecutive days greater.  In the case of pregnancy-related or assisted pregnancy - 
               related illness, the requirement for hospitalisation of ten consecutive days will be reduced to two or more consecutive days of in-patient hospital / clinic care. 

    The employee has the right to appeal the medical decision and/or management decision. 





  • Temporary rehabilitation remuneration (TRR) may be granted where a nurse/midwife remains unfit for work and has exhausted sick pay entitlements. There must be a realistic prospect of return to work and the employee must have at least two years’ service when they apply for TRR. Time spent in receipt of TRR is not reckonable for pension purposes.

    Following exhaustion of standard sick leave (183 days) TRR may be paid for a further 547 days (18 months). 

    When an employee has used all of their critical illness extended sick leave (365 days) TRR may be paid for a further 365 days. Management may continue to pay TRR for a further period of 730 days (24 months) subject to O.H.P. certification of a reasonable prospect of return to work. 

    The rate of TRR is 37.5% as of 4 September 2023 (transitional arrangement and top up model to apply where appropriate). 

    A wait period of three calendar days at nil pay will apply. 

  • With effect from 4 September 2023, sick leave provisions for permanent and fixed-term employees on probation or training will be adjusted pro rata for the period of their probation or training (max. 12 months). 

  • To calculate the level of paid sick leave that may be awarded, the employer will carry out a “dual look back” over the employee’s sick leave record.

    First “look back”:when a nurse/midwife commences a period of sick leave their sick leave record is reviewed over the previous four years. Where the total number of sick absences is 183 days or more there is no entitlement to either full or half pay but there may be entitlement to TRR. 

    Second “look back”: where the total number of sick absences is less than 183 days there may be an entitlement to either full or half pay. The sick leave record over the previous twelve months is reviewed to see if the nurse/midwife had less than 92 days sick leave with full pay during that period.  If they had less than 92 days, then full pay may be payable until a limit of 92 days is reached. After this, pay may be at half pay or TRR whichever is appropriate. 

    In the case of critical illness, the overall limit is 365 days in a rolling four year period and 183 days in a rolling 12-month period. 

    From 4 September 2023, the “look back” period is to be extended for breaks in service over six months that are: unpaid; do not accrue annual leave; and do not reckon towards pension. 

    All periods of full pay, half pay, and TRR are included in the “look back”. Absences at nil pay are to be excluded from the “look back”. 

    • 92 days (three months) on full pay in a rolling 12-month period, followed by: 
    • 91 days (three months) on half pay, 
    • subject to an overall maximum limit of 183 days paid sick leave in a rolling four-year period.  
  • A maximum of seven days uncertified paid sick leave may be granted in a rolling two year period. 

  • The Sick Leave Scheme does not affect an employee’s right to access existing occupational injury or illness schemes. Nurses/midwives continue to have access to the Injury at Work Scheme, the Serious Physical Assault at Work Scheme and applicable special sick leave schemes. 

  • What paid sick leave have I access to when I am pregnant? 

    Under ordinary sick leave rules, you may have access to: 

    • Paid sick leave of 183 days in a rolling four year period. 
    • With 92 days at full pay and 91 days at half pay in a one-year period. 

    You may also have access to Critical Illness Protocol (CIP) when pregnant which is: 

    • Paid sick leave of 365 days in a rolling four4 year period. 
    • With 183 days at full pay and 182 days at half pay in a one-year period.

    What extra protections do I have while on pregnancy-related sick leave (PRSL)?

    • When you are on certified PRSL you will never receive less than half pay. This is because you go on “extended” PRSL at half pay if you have exhausted access to paid sick leave at both full pay and half pay. 
    • This “extended” period of certified PRSL at half pay is not counted on your sick leave record. 
    • The requirement, under CIP, for PRSL is two or more consecutive days for hospitalisation. 

    What if I have used up all ordinary sick leave/CIP thresholds while I was pregnant?

    • After maternity leave if you have gone over normal paid sick leave/CIP thresholds you will have access, at half pay, to the equivalent number of days taken on PRSL subject to the four-year sick leave threshold. 
    • This does not include the “extended” period of certified PRSL at half pay as this is not counted on your sick leave record. 
    • Once maternity leave has ended any further sick leave will not be recorded as PRSL. 


  • When a nurse/midwife becomes incapacitated as a result of critical illness or serious physical injury, and has supporting medical evidence for an extended period of sick leave, the individual may, on an exceptional basis, be granted paid sick leave extended as follows: 

    • An extension of the three months full pay standard sick leave to six months full pay 
    • An extension of the three months half pay standard sick leave to six months half pay 
    • Subject to a maximum of 365 days paid sick leave in the previous rolling four-year period and 183 days in a rolling 12-month period. 
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    Catherine Hopkins

    Information Officer

    INMO HQ, Dublin

    Catherine O'Connor

    Information Officer

    INMO HQ, Dublin

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