The Cabinet has approved a new law which will give all workers the right to paid sick leave for the first time.
The Sick Leave Bill 2022 was signed off at a meeting of Government ministers on Tuesday, with workers due to be entitled to 10 paid sick days per year from 2026 under the new measures.
The scheme is expected to be phased in over a four-year period.
While sick leave is currently provided to approximately half of all employees in Ireland through their terms and conditions, there is a large gap between entitlements for public versus private sector workers.
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the contrast between those with and without paid sick leave.
To begin, workers will be able to avail of three paid sick days per year once the Bill is enacted, rising to five days for 2024, seven days in 2025 and finally, 10 days in 2026.
Employers will be obliged to pay 70 per cent of the employee's wage, with a daily maximum threshold of €110.
The employee must provide a medical certificate to avail of the paid sick leave and must have been employed for a minimum of 13 weeks prior.
The new measures do not prevent employers from offering better terms, nor do they prevent unions from negotiating for more through collective agreement, the Department of Enterprise said.
"We have made a big effort to design the scheme so that it’s easy to use, fair and affordable for employers," Mr Varadkar said.
The Tánaiste added that he believes the measures strike a "fair and reasonable balance" for workers and their employers.