Sick Leave Policies from around the World

When operating in different countries from around the world it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of local sick leave policies. In this article we are summarising sick leave regulations from USA, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, China, France and the UAE.

To find out more please contact our PEO team on or by phone on +44 (0) 1625 537 555.

Sick Leave Policy in the USA

The United States of America is one of the richest countries in the world with a huge economy. Regardless of this in the USA employees must depend on businesses and their state laws to protect their wages whilst they are off sick with only 14 of the 50 states having paid sick mandates in place. This has resulted in many workers to rely on health insurances pay-outs in order to cover their wages.

Sick Leave Policy in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands employers are obliged to pay employees 70 percent of their wages for up to two years. If the 70 percent of the employees wage is less than minimum wage, then the employer must boost this to the minimum wage for the first year. If an employee’s contract was to end whilst they are sick, employers do not have to pay their wages as the employee can apply for sickness benefits.

Sick Leave Policy in the United Kingdom

In the UK if an employee earns over £120.00 a week and are off sick for 4 or more days in a row, they are entitled to £96.35 per week of statutory sick pay for up to 28 weeks. This is surprisingly very low as the UK has a strong economy and this only equates to around 15 percent of the average UK weekly wage. In the UK an employee may not be eligible for sick pay if they do not report their sick leave as soon as possible. If they do not provide medical proof of their illness from the 8th day onwards (doctors note) or if they are sick for a long period of time (over 28 weeks).

Sick Leave Policy in Ireland

Ireland have recently introduced new statutory sick pay laws. Employees are now entitled to 70% of their standard daily earning up to €110 per day for 3 days, in 2024 this will increase to 5 days, 7 days in 2025 and in 2026 it will become 10 days. For employees to be entitled to the new statutory sick pay laws they must have been working for their current employer for at least 13 weeks. If an employee was to become ill during their annual leave and can provide evidence via a medical certificate these sick days will not be counted as days of annual leave.

Sick Leave Policy in Iceland

In Iceland employees are entitled to 100% of their wage for at least 2 days every month they have been employed. For example, if an employee has worked for 12 months, they would be entitled to 24 days sick leave. But this entitlement will increase with the length of employment after 2,4 and 5 years of employment for the same company with this being capped at 6 months after 10 years of working for the same employer.

Sick Leave Policy in Switzerland

Switzerland has the most extensive sick pay in the world with up to 103 weeks of paid leave available which is over 2 years long.

In Switzerland an employee is entitled to 80% of their salary which is over 60,000 Swiss Francs (£55,000) for the average employee in Switzerland which the majority of Swiss citizens can live off comfortably even with the high cost of living in Switzerland.

Sick Leave Policy in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg employees are entitled to 100% of their wages for up to 89 weeks with the first 11 weeks being covered by the employer and the further potential 78 weeks being covered by Luxembourg’s national health service. Self-employed workers are also able to claim through Luxembourg’s national health service. With the only negative point being, the employee must stay at home for the first 5 days of their illness as health officials are allowed to visit an employee’s home to check they are in potentially, leading to a fine if they are found not be home.

Sick Leave Policy in China

In China Sick leave is required to be paid to all employees in a range from 60% – 100% of their salary depending on their seniority of the employee and which Chinese state they are in. The minimum sick leave in China is 3 months for employees with a cumulative work history over 10 years and for employees with a 20-year cumulative work history with 15 years with their current employer the sick pay leave is unlimited.

Sick Leave Policy in France

In France within 48 hours of stopping working an employee must provide a sick note to the French national health insurance and their employer. Depending on their collective bargaining agreement with their employer which may keep paying them until CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurances Maladie) comes into effect. From the fourth day onwards, an employee can claim sick pay from CPAM with the daily allowance being capped at €48.69. If their sick leave goes over 30 days, then from that point onwards their sick pay will be paid by their life insurance.

Sick Leave Policy in the United Arab Emirates

In the UAE employees are entitled up to a maximum of 90 days sick pay per year with employees getting full pay for the first 15 days, half their pay for the 30 days after that and no pay for the final 45 days. Employees are not eligible for sick pay leave if it is during their probation period, if their illness directly arises from misconduct of the worker (alcohol or drug abuse) or if the worker violated safety instructions and got injured/ ill as a result of this.

If you are interested in finding out more about global sick leave entitlement and policies, please contact our PEO team on or +44 (0) 1625 537 555.