Am I entitled to sick pay if I have COVID-19?

If you are unable to go to work because you have or are suspected of having COVID-19, you are entitled to sick benefits
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If you test positive for COVID-19 or you are told you need to self-isolate and you are unable to go to work, you are entitled to apply for the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit, which is a payment of €350 per week.

You can apply for COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit if you are an employee or self-employed. Workers who live in Direct Provision are also entitled to apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit.

COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit is currently in place until 31 March 2021.

How to get sick pay if you have COVID-19

In normal circumstances, you have to wait six days in order to be able to receive Illness Benefit in Ireland. Under the new regulations you can receive the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit from the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis or medically-required self-isolation.

Who can apply for COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit?

You can apply for enhanced Illness Benefit if you:

  • Are suspected of having COVID-19 and you have been told be a doctor or by the HSE that you must self-isolate
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19

If you are unwell for any reason other than COVID-19, then you must apply for the regular Illness Benefit instead. If you are currently self-isolating because you are or someone you live with is medically vulnerable to COVID-19, you can also apply for the regular Illness Benefit.

How to qualify for the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit

In order to qualify for enhance Illness Benefit, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Be employed or self employed
  • Have worked in the four weeks before the date of your medical certification
  • If you are an employee, you must have a current contract of employment

You must also meet one of the following:

  • You have been told by a doctor or the HSE to self-isolate due to being symptomatic and a probable source of COVID-19 infection 
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor or through a positive RT-PCR / antigen test
  • You are under 40, symptomatic and have applied for an antigen test kit from the HSE

If you are vaccinated with a booster dose, you do not need to restrict your movements or self-isolate unless you start to show symptoms of COVID-19.

What documents do I need to get the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit?

In order to apply for the Enhanced Illness Benefit, you will need one of the following:

  • Confirmation from the HSE that you are positive for COVID-19 either through a RT-PCR test or having registered a positive antigen test or a close contact
  • Certification from your doctor that you have symptoms of COVID-19 and/ or are a probable source of infection
  • Confirmation from the HSE that you have ordered an antigen test kit or booked a RT-PCR test

If your doctor sends your medical certificate directly to the Department of Social Protection, you do not need to upload this document when applying.

If you received a text message or letter from the HSE telling you that you must self-isolate, you can screenshot and submit this image via the online portal when applying for the payment.

How long does it take to get sick pay for COVID-19?

Due to high demand, applications for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 are currently taking one to two weeks. The quickest and easiest way to apply is online.

How much is the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit?

The Enhanced Illness Benefit is a payment of €350 per week. If you are married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting, or if you have dependent children, then you may be able to get an increase on this payment.

Can I receive Enhanced Illness Benefit and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment at the same time?

You cannot receive both the Enhanced Illness Benefit payment and Pandemic Unemployment Payment at the same time.

If your income is a mix of earnings from employment and a social welfare payment and you test positive for COVID-19 or are told to self-isolate, then you can continue to get your social welfare payment. If this payment is less than the rate of COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit (€350 per week), then you can apply for a top up. Contact the Illness Benefit section on (01) 704 3300 or 0818 928400.

How long can you receive Enhanced Illness Benefit for?

How long you receive enhance Illness Benefit can depend on your situation.

If you have been told to self-isolate:

  • You can receive Enhanced Illness Benefit for a maximum of seven days, depending on your vaccination status

If you have been told to self isolate for a second time, you can have this extended. This means you can be paid for up to another week, but only if you have been told by the HSE that you need to self-isolate again. You will need to apply for this on a separate claim form, with a new medical certificate. If you have have two periods of self-isolation in a row, then you must return to work and make a PRSI contribution (paid through your taxes when you get paid) before you can apply for enhanced Illness Benefit again.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19:

  • You can receive Enhanced Illness Benefit for up to 10 weeks
  • If your medical certificate is for fewer than 10 weeks, you will be paid for the period that your medical certificate covers

Make sure to talk to your doctor about the length of time you will need to self-isolate and how long your medical cert will cover you.

How to apply for COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit

the quickest and easiest way to apply for COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit is to apply online.

If you have any questions or difficulty with applying, you can contact If you are unsure about whether you submitted your application form or medical certificate, you can contact the Illness Benefit section on (01) 704 3300 or 0818 928400.

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