The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has announced that the statutory sick pay scheme will come into force from January 1, 2023.

The Sick Leave Act will, for the first time, introduce an entitlement for all employees to sick leave paid by their employer in addition to illness benefit from the State.

Workers will be entitled to three days' paid sick leave in the first year of operation, rising to five days in year two, seven days in year three with employers eventually covering the cost of ten days in year four.

Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee's wage, subject to a daily maximum of €110.

The law was passed by the Oireachtas in July but it won't come into effect until the new year.

"Given the current challenging business environment and inflation in particular, I have concluded that the fairest and most appropriate approach is to introduce the entitlement on 1 January 2023," Mr Varadkar said.

Additional reporting by Sandra Hurley