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COVID-19 related leave for Public Health Service employees

Special leave with pay (SLWP) is currently used in lieu of sick leave for COVID-19. This is to help stop COVID-19 spreading in the workplace.

To be eligible for SLWP you must provide evidence of a positive COVID-19 test result and a completed SLWP for COVID 19 self declaration form (Word, 150 KB, 2 pages). Evidence may include a photo or screenshot of the positive antigen test and the date of the test.

SLWP does not apply in any other scenarios.

Latest guidance following a positive COVID-19 test result –

SLWP only applies if you were rostered or due to be working. It cannot be swapped for other leave, for example, annual leave. If you are on annual leave and have valid certification you can apply for sick leave, in accordance with standard sick leave regulations.

SLWP following a positive COVID-19 test result is not counted as part of your sick leave record.

If at any stage you feel well enough to work, but have tested positive for COVID-19, you may be able to work from home instead of taking SLWP. You must not attend the workplace and follow medical and HSE advice.

Amount of SLWP days

SLWP is applicable for the length of the HSE recommended ‘stay at home' guidance following a positive COVID-19 test result. This applies to whatever length is in place at the time, currently 5 calendar days. Any periods of COVID-19-related illness extending beyond the ‘stay at home’ guidance is treated as ordinary sick leave.

You are not entitled to days in lieu of bank holidays when you’re on special leave with pay.

Special leave with pay for COVID-19 arrangements are temporary, and will be kept under review.

Public Health advice for the management of COVID-19 cases and contacts -

Related documents

Procedure for SLWP absence (PDF, 130 KB, 3 pages)

FAQs and guidance (PDF, 725 KB, 10 pages)

HR Circular 013 2023 special leave with pay for Covid-19 (PDF, 358 KB, 6 pages)

SLWP for COVID 19 self-declaration form (Word, 150 KB, 2 pages)


Employees and managers should contact their local HR or Employee Relations departments.

National HR Helpdesk is also available to take queries from employees:

Tel: 1800 444 925