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Circular Title: Arrangements for Paid Sick Leave
D02 R583, D02 R583,
Circular Title: Arrangements for Paid Sick Leave
File Reference: DPE056/046/2014
I am directed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to say that the following will apply in relation to arrangements for paid sick leave:
Circular Number: 05/2018
Purpose: To set out the administrative arrangements for paid sick leave
Circular Applications: To all civil servants
Relevant Law/Circulars: Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 – 2005
Public Service Management (Recruitment & Appointments) Act 2004
Public Service Management(Recruitment & Appointments) (Amendment)
Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations 2014, SI 124 of 2014
Public Service Management (Sick Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
SI 384 of 2015
Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
Payment of Wages Act 1991
Current Circular on the Recovery of Salary, Allowances, and Expenses
Overpayments made to Staff Members/Former Staff
Effective From: 31 March 2018
This Circular revokes Circular 12/2015. Circulars revoked by Circular 6/2014 remain revoked and are listed at Appendix 1. This Circular does not affect the rights and obligations of civil servants under an Occupational Illness or Injury Scheme. The Circulars dealing with occupational illness or injury remain in place.
Part 1: Purpose and Principles
The purpose of this Circular is to set out the arrangements for sick leave in the Civil Service. The Sick Leave Scheme was revised following consultation with the Public Service Unions. This consultation was facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission and matters of dispute were referred to the Labour Court for a binding recommendation. The implementation of the recommendation resulted in the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) (Amendment) Act 2013 which provides that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform can make regulations for a Public Service Sick Leave Scheme. These Regulations are contained in SI 124 of 2014 and SI 384 of 2015. The Regulations set out the terms for the granting of paid sick leave. The main provisions are set out in Appendix 2.
1.2 Principles of the Policy
The Civil Service is committed to providing efficient and well-managed services. In order to achieve this it is necessary to strike a satisfactory balance between the delivery of the business needs of the employer – in this case the consistent delivery of high quality services to the public – and the need to allow civil servants to address their health and safety needs during periods of illness.
All civil servants have a responsibility to the organisation of which they are part, to their colleagues and to themselves to attend work and provide effective service. It is not the intention of the Civil Service that civil servants who are ill should be at work. The Civil Service will support officers who, from time to time, experience ill-health. Civil servants will receive support during times of illness through access to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Civil Service Employee Assistance Service (CSEAS). Where necessary, the Civil Service will provide opportunities for officers to participate in workplace rehabilitation to facilitate a timely and safe return to work as early return to work programmes benefit both civil servants and the Civil Service.
Part 2: Management of Sick Leave – Roles and Responsibilities
2.1 Management of Sick Leave
The effective management of sick leave provides a working environment that supports staff welfare, maximises and motivates attendance and builds morale within the organisation. Information on the roles and/or responsibilities of the following are set out in more detail below:
- Civil Servants’ Responsibilities;
- Line Managers’ Responsibilities;
- HR Managers’/Units’ Responsibilities;
- Role of HR Shared Services (HRSS);
- Role of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer;
- Role of the Civil Service Employee Assistance Service.
2.2 Civil Servants’ Responsibilities
Civil servants are obliged to provide regular and effective service and have a responsibility for managing their own sick leave and in particular adherence to the Sick Leave Regulations. They must understand that they need to:
• Be familiar and comply with the Sick Leave Regulations and policy;
• Maintain regular contact with the employing organisation during periods of sick absence;
• Take all reasonable measures, where possible, to manage their own health and well-being
with a view to returning to full health;
Co-operate fully with all referrals to the CMO and/or CSEAS;
• Co-operate fully with all rehabilitative measures to facilitate an early return to work.
2.3 Line Managers’ Responsibilities
The commitment of managers to a consistent policy on sick leave has been found to be a critical factor
in creating a culture of good attendance. A manager should:
Be clear on the subject of attendance expectations;
Assist in maintaining a positive atmosphere in the workplace;
Maintain regular contact with individuals on sick leave;
Liaise with the HR Unit, Employee Assistance Officer (EAO) or Disability Liaison Officer (DLO),
as necessary, in identifying progress towards recovery and assisting in reintegration into the
Carry out a Return to Work Interview after a period of sick leave;
Monitor and measure attendance patterns;
Identify and address any shortfalls in attendance patterns as they arise;
Conduct a Sick Leave Review Meeting with a civil servant who has an attendance pattern
which is causing concern (e.g. frequent absences, absences regularly occurring on a Monday
or Friday etc.);
Ensure all the relevant paperwork/HRSS processes are completed in a timely manner.
2.4 HR Managers’/Units’ Responsibilities
Organisations continue to have an employment relationship with civil servants on sick leave. HR Units
have a responsibility to maintain an effective management policy. HR Units’ responsibilities include:
Making appropriate referrals to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) or Civil Service Employee
Assistance Service (CSEAS);
Reporting on sick leave;
Analysing sick leave reports on a regular basis;
Providing sick leave pattern analysis/statistical reports to Senior Management, Heads of
Business Units and Line Managers on a quarterly basis;
Providing a civil servant’s sick leave record and/or sick leave pattern analysis to the civil
servant if requested or if required to highlight a pattern of concern;
Reviewing and evaluating absenteeism rates annually to highlight key issues of concern that
should be addressed. Such reviews may include a comparison with the previous year’s rates
and costs which should highlight trends and indicate, among other things, whether existing
policies and procedures are effective;
Reviewing the Organisation’s referral practices to the Chief Medical Officer and the Civil
Service Employee Assistance Service annually;
Keeping appropriate records in relation to the Critical Illness Protocol.
2.5 Role of HRSS
HRSS will deliver the transactional elements of sick leave policy for those organisations within the HR
Shared Services. The role will include:
Distribution of information relating to sick leave policy through HRSS alerts;
Provision of information to civil servants and managers about the transactional processes for
Administering the transactional elements of the sick leave process including:
Processing absence notifications and resumption to work forms;
Administration of Medical/Social Welfare Certificates;
Monitoring sick leave thresholds including pay affected;
Initiating CMO referrals.
Providing statistical reports to organisations and the Department of Public Expenditure and
Reform relating to:
Annual costs associated with sick leave both certified and self-certified;
Amount of days lost per FTE due to sick leave in a year;
Annual absenteeism rate.
Keeping appropriate records related to the Critical Illness Protocol.
2.6 Role of the Chief Medical Officer
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) provides an occupational health service to civil
servants. This service includes:
Workplace rehabilitation of officers on sick leave;
Assessment of medical fitness for work;
Ill Health Retirement assessments;
Statutory health surveillance and immunisations;
Workplace health promotion and health education;
Advice in relation to critical illness criteria.
2.7 Role of the Civil Service Employee Assistance Service
The CSEAS augments and supports the work of HR Units and Line Managers in promoting officers’
wellness and organisational effectiveness. It operates as a regionalised shared service under
central management within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The CSEAS provides a wide range of free and confidential* supports to civil servants, both staff and
management, designed to assist officers in managing work and life difficulties which, if left
unattended, could adversely affect work performance and/or attendance and quality of life.
In relation to the management of sick leave in the Civil Service, the CSEAS offers:
Support and guidance to civil servants during and after periods of sick leave;
Support to civil servants returning to work after a period of sick leave absence;
Support to civil servants whose pattern of attendance (e.g. frequent absences) is a cause
for concern and where welfare-related issues may be a contributing factor;
Assistance to HR Units in their strategies to minimise sick leave absences.
*Normal professional standards apply to confidentiality, which is between the service user and the
CSEAS. Full details on the range of services available from the CSEAS and information on
confidentiality and the exceptions to this, are available on the CSEAS website
Part 3: Procedures relating to Sick Leave
3.1 Reporting Absence
When a civil servant is unable to attend work due to ill health the following procedures must be
Inform his/her Line Manager verbally within one hour of the normal starting time on the first
day of absence that they are unable to attend work due to illness;
Give the reason for absence and expected date for resumption of duty;
If the absence is of three days or longer, provide a medical certificate signed and stating the
medical practitioner’s Medical Council registration number, stating fitness for work or
If the absence is of two days or less, complete a Return to Work Form and include a statement
that the absence is due to illness;
For those who are PRSI Class A contributors (employed post 6 April 1995), an MC1/2 Form
must be completed for absences of 6 days or more and sick leave benefit paid by the
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection must be mandated from the civil
servant to the employing organisation.
Medical certificates must, in all cases of continuous sick leave of three days or more, be provided to
the Line Manager, HR Unit or HRSS as soon as possible but not later than one week after the absence
commences. If a period of sick leave extends from Friday to Monday inclusive, a medical certificate
must be provided. In general, medical certificates should not cover periods of longer than one week.
However, certification for periods of up to one month may be accepted at the discretion of the HR
Unit/Line Manager/HRSS. The medical certificate must be signed and must state the medical
practitioner’s Medical Council registration number. (This will also apply to MC1/2 forms where
appropriate.) It must state fitness to work or otherwise and while it is not obligatory to state the
nature of the illness, a failure to include this information may lead to difficulties if seeking to have the
illness discounted. Where there is a difference of opinion between the CMO and the treating doctor,
it is for management to decide whether or not to grant paid sick leave.
3.3 Excessive Self-Certified Sick Leave
Where a civil servant exceeds 7 days’ self-certified sick leave in a rolling 24 month period, the civil
servant will be notified that his/her pay will be reduced accordingly and the appropriate sum recouped.
Unpaid absences are not pensionable service.
3.4 Contact with Civil Servants while on Sick Leave
Line Managers should maintain regular contact with civil servants while they are on sick leave. In order
to facilitate this, the civil servant must provide their contact phone number and emergency contact
information to their Line Manager, HR Unit or HRSS. The purpose of this is to ensure that an employing
organisation maintains contact with a civil servant who is absent on sick leave. Such contact is
particularly important to facilitate a successful return to work from sick leave.
3.5 Civil Servants who appear Ill in the Workplace
No civil servant who appears to require medical attention should be allowed to remain on duty in the
workplace. Where a civil servant’s well-being becomes a concern, their Line Manager should make
appropriate arrangements for that civil servant to either return home or receive appropriate medical
attention. HR Units should provide support for Line Managers in such circumstances where required.
3.6 Referrals to the Chief Medical Officer for Short Term Sick Absences
A civil servant can be referred by their Line Manager/HR Unit/HRSS to the CMO if a pattern of short
term absence is a matter of concern. At least one sick leave review meeting must have been held to
address the matter prior to any CMO referral. In such instances, the CMO should be provided with
details of the outcome of prior sick leave review meetings with the civil servant about his/her
attendance pattern. The CMO’s role is to clarify if the treatment of any chronic medical condition is
optimized and to see if any practicable work modification may help attendance.
3.7 Referrals to the Chief Medical Officer for Long Term Sick Absences
The CMO has advised that the earlier a civil servant is referred to his office when s/he is on a long
term sick absence, the better his/her chances are of returning to work. A civil servant is considered
to be on a long term sick absence if the absence is of four weeks or greater. All cases, other than
conditions that may be specified from time to time by the CMO, must be referred after a maximum
of four weeks. CMO referral is for the purposes of workplace rehabilitation and is not a disciplinary
measure. For Organisations within HRSS, generally the referral will be initiated by HRSS who will
request the local HR Unit to complete the referral form. Absences attributed to work (e.g. work
related stress) must be referred after two weeks. Management have the right to refer such
absences immediately if it is considered appropriate. In such cases, the CMO will require full
background information. Absences following on directly from Statutory Leave (e.g. maternity
leave) must be referred immediately. The CMO may make an appointment to see the individual,
seek a medical report or advise no intervention is necessary at that point.
3.8 Processes for Referral to the Chief Medical Officer
When a decision is taken to refer a civil servant to the CMO, the civil servant must be advised in
writing that the referral has been made. When so referred, civil servants are required to attend
and engage with the CMO, unless they are medically unfit to travel. If a civil servant will not attend
the CMO’s Office or seeks to postpone their appointment without satisfactory explanation, HR
Units may regard his/her absence as a disciplinary rather than a health matter. For Organisations
within HRSS, if a civil servant postpones or cancels the appointment on three occasions, the matter
will be referred to the local HR Unit to examine if it is a disciplinary matter. The continuation of
the grant of paid sick leave is dependent on a civil servant agreeing to, attending and engaging
with the CMO’s Office when a referral is made.
In order to avoid giving rise to unnecessary expense, generally the CMO should decide whether a
confidential doctor’s report is required. When such a report is requested of a civil servant by the
CMO it should be furnished within two weeks of receiving the request.
Where a civil servant has an appointment to attend the CMO but returns to work in the meantime,
the Line Manager should inform the CMO. The CMO can then decide whether the appointment is
still required. If, in the CMO’s opinion, the appointment should proceed, the civil servant is
required to attend and engage. If the civil servant will not attend the CMO’s Office or seeks to
postpone their appointment without satisfactory explanation, the HR Unit may regard their
absence as a disciplinary rather than a health matter.
3.9 Referrals to the Civil Service Employee Assistance Service
Civil servants absent on sick leave, or who have repeated short-term sick leave absences, may
decide to avail of the CSEAS for support. HR Units, Line Managers and/or the Chief Medical Officer
suggest to a civil servant that s/he may contact the CSEAS for support, or
make a formal referral of a civil servant to the CSEAS.
HRSS may also suggest contact with the CSEAS to a civil servant absent on sick leave.
Communication with a civil servant should include information on the CSEAS and, where
appropriate, inform the individual that a referral to the CSEAS has been made. Choosing to avail
of support from the CSEAS rests with the civil servant. Engagement with the CSEAS may be helpful
and is encouraged. It provides an opportunity for the staff member to discuss matters
confidentially* which might have a bearing on his/her circumstances. Contact details for the CSEAS
Tel: 0761 000030 Email: email@example.com.
*(Details on confidentiality, the exceptions to this and referral options are available on the CSEAS
3.10 Procedures for Extended Sick Leave under the Critical Illness Protocol
In recognition of the fact that as employers, the Civil Service needs to continue to provide support
for their officers who may be incapacitated as a result of critical illness or serious physical injury,
there is provision for extended sick leave which may be granted on an exceptional basis. The terms
under which this extended sick leave may be granted are set out in the Critical Illness Protocol (CIP)
which is attached (Appendix 3). The procedures for extended sick leave are:
The civil servant will usually be absent from work due to illness;
The civil servant completes an application form for the critical illness provisions and
submits it to the HR Manager (via HRSS where appropriate);
The HR Manager may also submit an application on behalf of the officer to the CMO where
The HR Manager will refer the application to the CMO to determine if it meets the medical
criteria set out in the Critical Illness Protocol;
The HR Manager makes a decision following consideration of the medical advice and any
other relevant circumstances of the case.
3.11 Appeals Process for Extended Sick Leave under the Critical Illness Protocol
The civil servant will have been notified by the HR Manager of the decision on whether to award
CIP or not and the reasons for the decision. Following this decision the civil servant can apply for
an appeal setting out the grounds/basis for the appeal, indicating the reasons for the appeal and
providing all information/documentation that may be relevant to the appeal. The process will then
The appeal will generally be considered by the Manager of the person who made the
If the Management Discretion Decision is appealed the Grievance Procedure is used;
If the decision relating to medical advice is appealed it is referred to a Specialist
Occupational Physician (similar process as for appeals of ill-health retirement). This will
ordinarily be a file only review.
Part 4 Return to Work Procedures and Processes
4.1 Return to Work Interview
Civil servants should attend a Return to Work Interview with their Line Manager after every
absence, but particularly after every instance of long term sick leave (i.e. in excess of 4 weeks).
The purpose of the interview is to primarily facilitate the civil servant’s transition back to work.
Return to work needs to be carefully managed to ensure that the establishment of working
practices and the recovery process are properly balanced. In managing sick leave, Organisations
should ensure that the necessary appropriate measures such as reviewing work plans, modified
working hours or arrangements, are undertaken in order to assist the civil servant in reintegrating
to the workplace. (Appendix 4 provides further details).
4.2 Sick Leave Review Meetings
Sick leave review meetings should be held in every case where a civil servant’s absence rate or
pattern is of concern, whether the absences are certified or uncertified. Line Managers should
examine the civil servant’s pattern of sick leave in determining when to conduct review meetings.
Ordinarily, a sick leave review meeting should take place between the Line Manager and the civil
servant where a civil servant accrues a minimum of 4 instances of short term absences in a rolling
1 year period. Organisations may consider the introduction of a follow-up meeting after every
short term sick leave absence if the rate of sick leave in their organisation is of concern.
(Appendix 5 provides further details).
Officers should not return to work unless they are fit to do so. In cases of long term absences the
CMO or treating doctor must confirm to the Line Manager that the civil servant is fit to resume
A Line Manager/HR Manager may initiate discussion with the civil servant on the possibility of
return. The dialogue should centre on whether there is joint advantage in considering any of the
A phased/gradual return to work and the expected timelines for this (this will be over a
short period of time);
Alteration, restriction or limitation of certain tasks;
Re-orientation, re-training, mentoring, supervision;
Relocation to another job temporarily.
4.4 Reasonable Accommodation
Where an individual attributes poor attendance to a medical condition, consideration must be
given as to whether that individual may have a disability as defined under Employment Equality
legislation. HR Managers must consider their obligations under the Employment Equality Acts
1998 to 2015 to provide reasonable accommodation, to ensure that individuals with a disability
can participate in and advance at work.
Examples of reasonable accommodation are as follows.
Making adjustments to premises and/or working space where reasonably practicable;
Allocating minor or subsidiary duties to another officer;
Altering working hours/reduction in hours;
Changing the location of the work;
Providing a period of rehabilitation;
Offering additional or extended training for the post;
Acquiring relevant equipment or modifying existing equipment.
The above list is not exhaustive.
Part 5 Miscellaneous Provisions
5.1 Sick Leave and Annual Leave
A civil servant is not permitted to take annual leave in place of sick leave.
A civil servant may, however, be given access to sick leave if s/he falls ill whilst on annual leave.
S/he may avail of sick leave for a specified period and have the same period of annual leave
restored to him/her if s/he provides a medical certificate (i.e. civil servants cannot avail of selfcertified sick leave during a period of annual leave). A civil servant may not opt to be paid for this
annual leave rather than have it restored.
If a civil servant wishes to suspend a period of annual leave to take certified sick leave the usual
rules apply, particularly those around timely notification to their Line Manager.
5.2 Sick Leave and Statutory Leave
A civil servant may not have access to two different types of leave at the same time. When a civil
servant is availing of statutory leave generally s/he have no access to sick leave. However
depending on the nature of the statutory leave it may be possible to postpone or suspend the
statutory leave (e.g. parental leave).
5.3 Sick Leave and Special Leave
A civil servant may not have access to two different types of leave at the same time. When a civil
servant is availing of special leave (e.g. career break) there is no access to sick leave.
5.4 Sick Leave and Work-Sharing
The sick leave provisions for a civil servant participating in the Work-Sharing Scheme will be
adjusted pro-rata to his/her agreed attendance pattern and are subject to the normal provisions
governing the granting of sick leave.
5.5 Sick Leave-Related Overpayments
If an overpayment arises as a result of sick leave, the overpayment should be recouped in
accordance with the current Circular on the Recovery of Salary, Allowances, and Expenses
Overpayments made to Staff Members/Former Staff Members/Pensioners/
5.6 Absences from Work Resulting in a Personal Injury Claim
Where a civil servant is absent on sick leave due to an illness or injury which results in a personal
injury claim against a third party, payment of sick pay is conditional upon the staff member:
(i) including in their personal injury claim the amount of any sick pay paid or payable in
respect of the absence; and
(ii) reimbursing to the Organisation the amount of the sick pay paid or payable in the event
of a successful claim.
5.7 Sick Leave during Probation
During a probationary period, proper management of sick leave is critical. It is especially important
that the focus on the prevention of abuse of the Sick Leave Scheme is emphasised at the Induction
Phase. The sick leave policy should be explained to all new civil servants. Those on probation
should be told the expected standards in terms of attendance, performance and
behaviour/conduct, both in general and as they relate to establishment. They should be informed
that the possible consequences of not attaining these standards include termination of their
contract during the probationary period, or being reverted to the previous grade if on promotion.
5.8 Sick Leave Limits – Promotion/Higher Duties Allowance
A civil servant’s sick leave record will be taken into account in the event of their being considered
for promotion or a higher duties allowance. When considering suitability for promotion/higher
duties allowance, the key consideration is whether the civil servant will be capable, competent
and available to provide regular and effective service at the higher grade. HR Managers should
examine candidates’ sick leave records over the previous four years to determine this. Sick leave
of more than 56 days or 25 instances in the previous rolling four year period may result in
ineligibility for promotion/higher duties allowance subject to the rules as set out below in
paragraph 5.9. These limits are reduced pro rata where a civil servant has less than four years’
5.9 Discounting of Sick Leave
HR Managers have discretion to discount periods of sick leave when assessing for
promotion/higher duties allowance. Factors that may be taken into account include, but are not
Has the individual’s performance been satisfactory?
What has the individual’s pattern of sick leave been like throughout his or her career with the
Did the sick leave in the last year take place as one instance or as more than one instance?
Is an instance of sick absence “out of the ordinary” for the individual in question?
Has a life-long condition resulted in an unexpected “spike” in absence when, in the ordinary
course, the individual’s sick leave is within acceptable parameters?
Was the sick leave due to a pregnancy related illness?
Was the sick leave related to illness that has been stabilised successfully? Whilst a condition
may be life-long, is the expectation that following successful treatment, the individual should
be capable of regular and effective service?
Does the pattern of sick leave suggest that there is no longer an issue (e.g. a large block of
sick leave earlier in the 4 year period and no/ limited further instances)?
It is a matter for the HR Manager, on application by a civil servant, to decide whether sick leave
absence can be discounted having regard to the provisions above, the compatibility of the sick
leave record with the requirement for regular and effective service and any advice given by the
Chief Medical Officer.
5.10 Sick Leave and the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
In accordance with Section 21 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, a civil servant who
is absent from work on certified sick leave immediately before and including a public holiday is
entitled to benefit from that public holiday. Civil servants who are on certified sick leave
immediately before and including a public holiday should be awarded a day in lieu.
There are a number of exceptions to this provision:
(i) Civil servants who are absent due to an occupational injury for a period greater than 52
consecutive weeks are only entitled to an additional annual leave day for each public
holiday arising in the first 52 consecutive weeks.
(ii) Civil servants who are absent due to illness or injury (other than an occupational injury)
for a period greater than 26 consecutive weeks are only entitled to an additional annual
leave day for each public holiday arising in the first 26 consecutive weeks.
(iii) Civil servants who are on an absence authorised by the employer, including a lay off but
excluding (i) and (ii) above, of greater than 13 consecutive weeks are only entitled to an
additional annual leave day for each public holiday arising in the first 13 consecutive
(iv) Civil servants who are absent by reason of a strike are not entitled to an additional annual
leave day in respect of a public holiday.
5.11 Pregnancy Related Provisions
The Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations 2014, SI 124 of 2014, as amended by the
Public Service Management (Sick Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2015, SI 384 of 2015, set out
the provisions which relate to the interaction of pregnancy related illness with sick leave limits.
The Regulations provide for:
A woman who is absent due to a pregnancy related illness will not receive less than the
half rate of pay.
An ongoing arrangement whereby pregnancy related sick leave taken in the previous
4 years will be credited back at half pay, subject to the overall sick leave limits.
Transitional Arrangement: The discounting of all pregnancy related sick leave taken prior
to the commencement of the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme for the purpose of
determining access to paid sick leave under the current Scheme.
Louise Mc Girr
29 March 2018
Appendix 1: Revocation of Circulars
Circular 12/2015 Arrangements for Paid Sick Leave is revoked by this Circular.
The following Circulars revoked by Circular 6/2014 remain revoked:
Circular 16/2012 Self-Certified Paid Sick Leave Arrangements
Circular 9/2010 Management of Sick Leave
Circular 15/2009 Sick Leave: Pregnancy-Related Sick Leave
Circular 9/2004 Sick Leave and the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
Circular 33/1995 Sick Leave arrangements for unestablished and temporary staff
Conf. Circular 3/91 Clearance of candidates for promotion or establishment: sick absences and
Conf. Circular 4/91 Sick leave during or after pregnancy
Circular 12/1988 Civil Service Policy on AIDS
Circular 7/1978 Sick Leave
Circular 25/1978 Sick Leave [insofar as it relates to sick leave only]
Circular 23/1977 Fees for Certain Medical Examinations
Circular 43/1974 Sick Pay at Pension Rate
Circular 5/1971 Confirmation of Acting Appointments
Conf. Circular 6/64 Sick Absences of Officers on Probation
Circular 9/1957 Civil Service Regulation Act, 1956, Appointment of Medical Referees for
purposes of Section 9
Circular 6/1957 Superannuation Act, 1956
Appendix 2: Main Provisions of the Regulations
The Regulations governing Sick Leave in the Public Service are SI 124 of 2014. This summary is to assist
Human Resource Managers in the Civil Service and should be used in conjunction with the Regulations.
Limits for Self – Certified Sick Leave
No more than 7 days of self-certified sick leave in a rolling 2 year period, counting backwards from
the day before the latest date of absence;
The duration of the absence on self-certified sick leave shall not be longer than 2 days in any
Limits for Sick Leave
92 days on full pay in a rolling 1 year period counting back from the day before the latest date of
absence followed by 91 days on half pay subject to:
A maximum of 183 days in a rolling 4 year period counting back from day before the latest date of
Limits for Sick Leave Granted under the Critical Illness Protocol
183 days on full pay in a rolling 1 year period counting back from the day before latest date of
absence followed by 182 days on half pay subject to:
A maximum of 365 days in a rolling 4 year period counting back from the day before the latest
date of absence.
Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration
Regulation 6 of SI 124 of 2014 sets out the provisions for Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (TRR).
The conditions to be met before temporary rehabilitation remuneration can be paid are:
(a) the individual concerned must have the service required for an ill health retirement pension*; and
(b) there must be a reasonable prospect that the individual will be able to return to work and give
regular and effective service.
Regulation 6 also provides that the rate of pay of temporary rehabilitation remuneration is the same as the
rate of pension that the individual would be paid if they were to be ill-health retired.
The following limits apply for payment of TRR:
Ordinary sick leave: 547 days on TRR in a rolling 4 year period
Critical Illness Provisions: 365 days on TRR in a rolling 4 year period with a provision to extend for a
further 2 years subject to 6 monthly reviews.
* An ill health retirement pension is a pension that may be paid to an individual where he or she retires on
1.1 It is recognised that public service bodies, as employers, need to continue to provide support for
their employees who may be incapacitated as a result of critical illness or serious physical injury.
Therefore when an individual 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:
A maximum of 183 days on full pay in the previous rolling one-year period.
Followed by a maximum of 182 days on half pay in the previous rolling one-year period.
Subject to a maximum of 365 days paid sick leave in the previous rolling four-year period.
1.2 The granting of exceptional extended paid sick leave is a decision of management
having considered the occupational medical advice.
1.3 These arrangements will exclude individuals whose illness relates to an occupational injury/illness
and who have access to an Occupational Injury/Illness Scheme.
2 CRITERIA FOR AWARD OF EXTENDED PAID SICK LEAVE
2.1 In determining whether an individual may be granted access to exceptional extended paid sick
leave the following criteria apply:
2.1.1 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.
2.1.2 The case must be referred by the employer to its Occupational Health Service for medical
2.1.3 The responsibility lies with the employee to furnish any treating doctor’s medical reports
requested within an appropriate time-frame 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.
2.1.4 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
Appendix 3: CRITICAL ILLNESS PROTOCOL
(d) In-patient or day hospital care of ten consecutive days or greater1
2.1.5 The Occupational Physician will consider the information provided by the treating doctor, and
may confer with them with consent if they feel this would be helpful. It is not an absolute
requirement that a definitive final diagnosis has been made. The Occupational Physician may
accept a presumptive diagnosis on a case by case basis.
3 DECISION TO AWARD
3.1 The decision on whether to award extended paid sick leave is a management decision. Whilst
management must primarily consider the Occupational Medical advice, management should consider all
the circumstances of the case.
3.2 Thus, although an employee may not meet the medical criteria outlined above, management may
still make a decision to award in exceptional circumstances.
3.3 In exercising this discretion management must demonstrate the reasons why they are awarding
an extended period of paid sick leave although the individual does not meet the requirements set out at
2.1.4 (ii) above.
In this regard management should establish the following:-
That there are exceptional circumstances; and
That those exceptional circumstances relate to the illness, injury or condition of the person; and
That those exceptional circumstances warrant the granting of the extended paid sick leave.
3.4 When determining if there are exceptional circumstances which would warrant the award of CIP
granted on the basis of managerial discretion, the Manager should consider the following three sources of
information to inform the decision making process to award CIP.
The Occupational Physicians Report
Relevant Information from the Individual
Relevant HR Information.
4 APPEAL OF THE MEDICAL DECISION
4.1 The advice of the Occupational Physician may be appealed to either a single appeal Specialist
Occupational Physician or a panel of Specialist Occupational Physicians. This can be decided on a sector by
sector basis as to which is the most appropriate approach. This appeal will ordinarily be a file only review.
4.2 In the case of an appeal to a single Specialist Occupational Physician, an individual may arrange to
meet with the Specialist Occupational Physician on the basis of an appropriate cost sharing arrangement
to be determined within each sector.
4.3 The final decision on any appeal lies with the employer, having considered the medical advice.
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.
5 APPEAL OF THE MANAGEMENT DECISION
5.1 The mechanism for appeal of the management decision will be decided on a sector by sector basis
with access given to those appeal mechanisms which are already in place in each sector. For example, the
management decision may be appealed using the Grievance Procedure in the Civil Service.
5.2 Should there be a delay2
in the employer referring an employee to the Occupational Health Service
of the organisation, or a delay3
in being seen by this Occupational Health Service, there will be no financial
loss to the employee if they are later awarded the exceptional extended paid sick leave. Where, in these
circumstances, an employee moves on to half pay and it is later found that access to exceptional extended
paid sick leave should have been granted, pay will be restored appropriately.
6 RETURN TO WORK
6.1 There will be no financial loss to an employee in circumstances where the employee has fully
engaged with the process around the management of sick leave and their own consultant has certified
fitness to return to work, but the employee has not been able to return to work because there is a delay in
the employer referring the employee to the Occupational Health Service of the organisation, or a delay in
being seen by this Occupational Health Service. Pay will be restored appropriately.
7 TEMPORARY REHABILITATION REMUNERATION
7.1 In advance of the termination of the payment of Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (TRR),
following payment of paid sick leave and TRR for a period not exceeding two years, local management shall
secure expert specialist occupational health advice on whether there is any reasonable prospect of the
employee returning to work within a foreseeable timeframe. Where a reasonable prospect of return to
work is confirmed by the Occupational Health Specialist the payment of TRR may be continued subject to
review at six-monthly intervals for a further period not exceeding two years.
2 Where the delay is of a duration in excess of the period of time currently allowed for a referral to an
3 Where the delay is of a duration in excess of the normal waiting time to be seen by an Occupational
Current or recent Clinical Care
This means that the employee has received medical investigations and treatment ordinarily under the
direct care / supervision of a hospital consultant. They may be either a hospital inpatient or outpatient. It
excludes referrals that in the opinion of the Occupational Physician are primarily for report preparation
This is a medical doctor who is on the relevant specialist register, and holds a HSE / Voluntary Hospital /
NHS hospital consultant appointment or has admission rights to a recognised private hospital.
This is a medical doctor registered with the Irish Medical Council who has a postgraduate qualification in
Occupational Medicine / Occupational Health, or who is on a specialist training scheme in Occupational
Specialist Occupational Physician
This is a medical doctor registered with the Irish Medical Council in the specialist division of Occupational
Limitation of Life Expectancy
This refers to the condition and not the individual person. It must be well established in the peer reviewed
medical literature that the medical condition results in a reduction of life expectancy.
APPENDIX 4: RETURN TO WORK MEETING
When should a Return to Work Meeting be carried out?
Civil servants should attend a Return to Work meeting with their Line Manager after every instance of
certified sick absence, primarily to facilitate the civil servant’s transition back to work.
Purpose of the Return to Work Meeting
Return to Work Meetings shall be confidential and carried out in a positive and supportive manner between
the civil servant and their Line Manager. In general, the purpose of the Return to Work Meeting is:
To welcome the civil servant back to work;
To establish whether any further practical steps may be taken to facilitate the civil servant’s
transition back to work;
To update the civil servant on work developments, if appropriate;
To identify any updates needed to the civil servant’s Goal Setting form;
If necessary, to draw the civil servant’s attention to the services provided by the Civil Service
Employee Assistance Service (CSEAS) and the Disability Liaison Officer.
Arranging a Return to Work Meeting
The Return to Work Meeting should be held no later than the first week after the civil servant returns to
work. It is not intended that these meetings be time-consuming or overly formal. The Line Manager will
assess the level of formality required taking cognisance of the circumstances surrounding the long term
Sick Leave absence on a case-by-case basis. The civil servant should be given notice of the meeting and the
Line Manager should confirm with the civil servant that they are available to meet at the scheduled time.
The Line Manager should choose a venue where the meeting can be conducted in private and without
Return to Work Meeting Report
When the meeting has concluded, the Line Manager must forward written confirmation to their HR
Unit/HRSS that a Return to Work Meeting has been held and include any other information that the civil
servant or the Line Manager considers relevant. A copy of this report should be agreed as between the
Line Manager and the civil servant and both should retain a copy.
Referral to the CMO
Where a Line Manager or HR Unit is concerned about a civil servant’s fitness to return to work the civil
servant should be referred to the CMO.
APPENDIX 5: SICK LEAVE REVIEW MEETING
When should a Sick Leave Review Meeting be carried out?
Sick Leave Review Meetings should be held in every case where a civil servant’s absence rate or pattern is
of concern, whether the absences are certified or self-certified. Departments and Offices may also consider
introducing a follow up/review meeting with each civil servant who has a short term sick leave absence if
the absenteeism rate in their organisation is of concern.
In the case of repeated short term absences Line Managers should examine the civil servant’s pattern of
sick leave in order to determine whether a sick leave Review Meeting is warranted. For example, repeated
short term absences may not primarily relate to medical issues. Problems in this area may relate more to
issues around attendance at work than questions of health.
No two instances of repeated short term absences are the same and so Line Managers should exercise
discretion in deciding when to intervene. Line Managers should be sufficiently aware of and familiar with
a civil servant’s absence record and pattern to make these determinations and decide whether or not to
instigate a Sick Leave Review Meeting.
Purpose of the Sick Leave Review Meeting
Sick Leave Review Meetings shall be confidential and carried out in a positive and supportive manner
between the civil servant and their Line Manager. The discussion should focus on issues related to absence
rather than medical matters. In general, the purpose of a Sick Leave Review Meeting is:
(a) To advise the civil servant of their sick leave record for the past twelve months and the
previous four years, as appropriate;
(b) To identify and address any problem (work related or otherwise) that may have caused
or contributed to the absences;
(c) To discuss discernible patterns of absence, where appropriate;
(d) To ensure that the civil servant is reminded of the provisions of this Circular;
(e) To refer to the requirement for reliability in a civil servant and emphasise the necessity
for teamwork and the impact that absences have on all civil servants;
(f) To identify practical steps that might be taken to reduce absence levels in the future; and
(g) To draw the civil servant’s attention to the services provided by the Civil Service Employee
Assistance Service (CSEAS) and the Disability Liaison Officer.
Arranging a Sick Leave Review Meeting
The civil servant should be given notice of the meeting in writing. They should be advised of the purpose
of the meeting and given a copy of their sick leave record. The Line Manager should confirm with the civil
servant that they are available to meet at the scheduled time. The Line Manager should choose a venue
where the meeting can be conducted in private and without interruption.
Line Manager Preparation for a Sick Leave Review Meeting
It is important that a Line Manager is fully prepared before conducting a Sick Leave Review Meeting. The
meeting should be conducted in a structured fashion. Line Managers should have developed a set of topics
that they wish to cover in the meeting to help identify the underlying cause(s) of the absences. If the civil
servant expresses concern about disclosing the reason for the absences, the Line Manager should seek
assurances from the civil servant that the absences are not work-related. The civil servant should be
reminded of the provisions of this Circular and the consequences associated with exceeding the Sick Leave
Sick Leave Review Meeting Report
When the meeting has concluded, the Line Manager must forward written confirmation to their HR Unit
that a Sick Leave Review Meeting has been held and include any other information that the civil servant or
the Line Manager considers relevant. A copy of this report should be agreed as between the Line Manager
and the civil servant and both should retain a copy.
Referral to the CMO
If, following a Sick Leave Review Meeting, the Line Manager is aware that the civil servant feels that their
absences primarily relate to an underlying medical condition, the Line Manager can refer the civil servant
to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for clarification/advice. In these cases, the CMO should be provided
with records of all Sick Leave Review Meetings carried out with the civil servant. Repeated short term
absence cases should not be referred to the CMO unless at least one Sick Leave Review Meeting has been
held with the civil servant.