A woman is standing against a purple background wearing dungarees and glasses, sneezing into a tissue.
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Which countries have the best and worst sick pay?

13 May 2021

Ireland is the second-worst country in Europe for sick pay, according to The Compensation Experts, while Iceland comes out on top.

In a Laya Healthcare survey late last year, 80pc of more than 1,000 employees said they hadn’t taken any sick leave since the pandemic kicked off in March. At the time, Laya’s head of health and wellbeing, Sinead Proos, highlighted the “profound” impact Covid was having on people’s mental health.

So why aren’t people calling in sick? One reason could be the standard of sick pay here in Ireland. According to The Compensation Experts, Ireland is one of the worst countries in Europe for sick pay, second only to Malta.

Ireland ranks so low because it has no legal minimum sick pay. Instead, the amount of sick pay an employee is entitled to is determined in their contract.

The Compensation Experts analysed sick-pay packages across every country in Europe and ranked them based on their minimum and maximum figures.

Iceland came out on top for its sick-pay package. For every month an Icelandic person has been employed, they are entitled to a minimum of two days of sick leave with 100pc of their wage.

Close behind Iceland were Norway and Denmark. Workers in these countries are also given 100pc of their salaries, with Norwegian employees covered by the government for up to a year and Danish employees covered for up to 22 weeks.

Germany ranked just outside the top five. German workers are allowed between 70pc and 100pc of their salaries for up to 84 weeks. Rounding out the top 10 were countries offering similar percentages but for varying timeframes, such as Finland, Switzerland, Monaco and Montenegro.

Joining Ireland in the lower ranks were the UK, where government support no longer applies after four sick days, and Ukraine, where there is no formal timeline for illness compensation and employees can legally be fired if they’re sick for longer than four months.

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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