The Small Firms Association has said that placing additional sick leave pay costs on their members would add further pressure on those struggling and would cost jobs.

The association said any such move by the Government would act as a strong disincentive to job creation.

It said the additional cost may force employers to revisit any existing sick pay policies they offer.

The SFA said employers and workers already contribute significantly to the social welfare bill through the PRSI system, and placing social welfare costs on businesses would be a completely unacceptable additional cost on employment.