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Sick leave

You should let your manager know as soon as possible, and before your start time, that you are unable to attend work.

If you are unable to attend work due to illness or injury, you may be granted sick pay under the public service sick leave scheme -

Changes to the scheme came into effect on 4 September 2023. The revised scheme is set out in changes to the public service sick leave scheme (HSE HR circular 024/2023). The changes apply to employees who went on sick leave on or after 4 September.

If you have been on continuous sick leave since before 4 September 2023 you will keep your previous sick leave conditions (the conditions in place at the time you went out on sick leave). These are known as transitional arrangements. The revised arrangements apply to your next period of sick leave.

You are entitled to sick pay when you comply with HR policies and procedures including:

Managing attendance policy (PDF, 443KB, 29 pages)

Rehabilitation back to work policy (PDF, 1.3MB, 30 pages)

Self-certified sick leave

You may be granted up to a maximum of 7 days self-certified paid sick leave (pro rata for part time employees) in a rolling 24 month period. This means you do not have to submit a medical certificate if your sickness absence is not more than 2 consecutive days (unless you are specifically requested to do so).

When you return to work, you must meet with your manager and fill out a self-certification of sickness absence form.

Certified sick leave

Certified sick leave is when your GP says you are too unwell to work. They will give you a medical cert. The cert will show the number of days your GP thinks you need to be off work to recover. This is known as medically-certified sick leave. You must submit a medical cert to your manager if your absence is more than 2 consecutive days.

Ordinary sick leave

The maximum paid sick leave is 183 days in a rolling 4-year period. Sick pay at full, half, and Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (TRR) rates count towards this.

If you do not exceed the 183-day threshold, you are entitled to:

  • 92 calendar days (3 months) on full pay in a rolling 1-year period
  • 91 calendar days (3 months) on half pay in a rolling 1-year period (this applies when you reach the full-pay threshold)

Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (TRR)

You may be eligible for a payment called TRR if you have used up your entitlement to sick leave at full and half pay.

Management have the discretion to approve or refuse TRR on a case-by-case basis.

Before TRR can be paid:

  1. You must have 2 years service. If you have more than 1 period of employment in the public service, this requirement can be met by combining these employment periods. This applies as long as there is not a break in service of 26 weeks or more.
  2. There must be a reasonable prospect that you will return to work. Your manager should take into account medical advice from occupational health when making their decision.

TRR is paid at 37.5% of your salary. It is calculated using your basic salary, pensionable allowances and unsocial hours payments you earn.

There is no payment for the first 3 calendar days of sickness absence. These are known as 'waiting days'. The 3-day wait for payment restarts with each new absence, and is not cumulative.

Days included in the 3-day wait:

  • Saturdays
  • Sundays
  • other rest days
  • days on which your workplace is closed

The 3-day wait does not apply if you:

  • transition from full pay or half pay to TRR during an ongoing absence, including while on extended sick pay under Critical Illness Protocol (CIP)
  • return to work following critical illness-related sick leave and subsequently use all your extended sick pay limits under CIP during the 'protective year'. The protective year is effective from your return date following CIP. It applies to non-critical illnesses and injuries which occur within 12 months of your return date

TRR pay may be paid for 547 days (18 months) in a rolling 4-year period.

Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration form HR114 (PDF, 248 KB, 3 pages)

TRR top up

A TRR 'top up' model will operate for a transitional period of 5 years (from 4 September 2023 to 3 September 2028).

The top up model benefits employees who would have been entitled to a higher payment for TRR under their pension scheme's ill-health retirement rules.

To benefit, you must have a minimum of 20 years' full time service in the public service.

The TRR ‘top-up’ will be the difference between:

  • amount payable at the flat 37.5% rate of basic salary plus pensionable allowances; and
  • amount of the TRR payment under the pension scheme rules

If you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply for the TRR top up using TRR top-up payment form HR118.

Critical Illness Protocol (CIP)

If you become seriously injured or critically ill, and have supporting medical evidence, you may be granted extended paid sick leave under the terms of the Critical Illness Protocol (CIP).


  • up to a maximum of 6 months (183 days) on full pay in a rolling 1 year period, followed by
  • up to a maximum of 6 months (182 days) on half pay


If you have used up your full and half CIP pay, TRR may be granted for up to 1 year (365 days) in a rolling 4-year period.

TRR may be extended for a further 2 years (730 calendar days and maximum 1095 calendar days). The TRR extension is reviewed every 6 months.

Further details on the Critical Illness Protocol (HR circular 014 2018)

CIP criteria

If you apply for CIP, you must attend Occupational Health to assess if you meet the medical criteria. Management and HR will use this information, and other criteria, in deciding if you will be granted CIP.

Occupational Health may recommend that you are fit to return to work if appropriate measures can be provided (for example, temporary adjustment to duties).

Your medical condition should have at least 1 of the following characteristics:

  • acute life-threatening physical illness
  • chronic progressive illness, with well-established potential to reduce life expectancy
  • major physical trauma requiring acute operative surgical treatment
  • in-patient or day-hospital care of 10 consecutive days or more. For pregnancy-related or assisted-pregnancy-related illness, the requirement is reduced to 2 or more consecutive days of inpatient-hospital care

CIP leave may be granted without meeting medical criteria, at management's discretion. In using this discretion, your manager will consider the occupational health report and take into account the circumstances in your particular case.

Further details on the Critical Illness Protocol (HR circular 014 2018)

Protective year after critical illness

When you return to work after a critical illness or injury you have a protective year. This means you can use your remaining CIP leave for subsequent non-critical illnesses within 1 year of returning to work. This is subject to an overall limit of 365 days critical illness leave in a rolling 4 year period. You can receive the sick leave extensions even if you have an unrelated non-critical illness or injury.

Sick leave and annual leave

You may get paid sick leave if you fall ill during your annual leave, and can provide a medical certificate. Self-certified sick leave is not granted during annual leave.

DSP payments

Sick pay at full pay, half pay, and during TRR at the flat rate of 37.5% is inclusive of any illness benefit or occupational injury benefit payable by the Department of Social Protection (DSP).

If you are eligible for DSP payments you must:

  • apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) with the appropriate documentation
  • tell your manager the rate you will get from DSP so we deduct the correct amount

National Finance Division (NFD) payroll notification form (illness benefit class A and occupational injury benefit class A and D)

HR memo - public service sick leave scheme and DSP (PDF, 256 KB, 3 pages)

HSE sick pay and illness and occupational injury benefit payments from DEASP - circular 005/2018 (PDF, 200 KB, 2 pages)

Information on claiming illness benefit from DSP -

Information on claiming injury benefit from DSP -

Pregnancy-related illness

If you have a certified pregnancy-related illness you can get sick leave in the normal way. You will have the same allowance as normal.

If you use up all your sick leave on full and half pay before going on maternity leave, you may get a special extension of sick pay at half pay.

If you are ill after maternity leave, and have used up your sick pay because of pregnancy-related illness, you may be entitled to have your pregnancy-related sick leave restored to you at half pay. This is subject to the normal limits for sick pay.

Probation and training

If you are a permanent or fixed-term employee on probation or training, your sick leave entitlement is granted pro-rata. For example, if you are on a 12 month probationary period you are entitled to 23 days at full pay and 23 days at half pay. This is subject to the normal limits for sick pay.

Pro-rata sick leave won't apply if you're on probation and working in a role you've been promoted to (if you completed your new-entrant probation successfully).

'Training’ refers to employees on trainee, student and intern contracts.

Once you complete your probationary period, full sick leave limits apply. This applies to employees on permanent and fixed-term contracts.

Illness or injury while at work

You may be covered by one of the HSE's occupational illness or injury schemes if your illness or injury occurs while you're at work. This also includes if you are assaulted at work. This will not affect your entitlements under the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme.

Long term absence benefit schemes guidelines (PDF, 1.29MB, 32 pages)

National HR Employee Helpdesk

Phone: 1800 444 925


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