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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


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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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
  • Have a medical certificate from your doctor (called a 'Certificate of incapacity for work') or have a text or letter notification from the HSE telling you that you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19
  • 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

The medical certificate can be sent by your doctor directly to the Department of Social Protection.

If you received a text message or letter from the HSE telling you that you must self-isolate, you can send an image of this document, along with your name and PPS number to illnessenquiry@welfare.ie.

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

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or you have been told by a doctor or the HSE that you must self-isolate, there are no waiting days for payment of enhanced Illness Benefit.

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 1890 928 400.

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 two weeks

If you have been told to self isolate for a second time, you can have your original two weeks extended. This means you can be paid for another two weeks, 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 1890 928 400.

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Published March 16th2020
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