On the 23rd September 2020, the Labour Party have put forward the Sick Leave and Parental Leave (COVID-19) Bill 2020, which intends to introduce mandatory sick pay to be paid by employers and the extension of force majeure parental leave where a child’s school/ childcare is closed due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
In current wording, under Section 2 of the Bill, it stipulates that an employee will be entitled to paid sick leave. This entitlement provides the employee with up to 6 weeks paid leave or 30 days in total in any 12 month period. In order to qualify for this entitlement, the employee must have 4 weeks continuous service.
The level of pay the employee will be entitled to, will be their normal rate of pay, proportionate to that of their normal weekly basic pay, as per the definition of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.
Section 3 of the Bill also intends to amend the current provisions pertaining to force majeure as governed under Section 13 of the Parental Leave Act 1998 – 2020. This amended provision will provide that where a school as a result of COVID-19 measures, is forced to temporarily close – or the child is unable to attend school, the parent (or employee) will be entitled to force majeure leave.
COVID-19 measures is defined as “means measures required to be taken in order to comply with, or as a consequence of, Government policy to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of infection of Covid-19”.
In the event that an employer fails to comply with the foregoing changes, an employee will be entitled to lodge a complaint for adjudication under the Workplace Relations Act 2015.
 See Section of the 1997 Act