What does Sick Pay look like around the world?

sick leave
By Anthony Wolny | 16th December 2020 | 8 min read

When looking to expand your business internationally, managing legislation needs to be a top priority as ensuring compliance is critical.

One area of legislation in particular that has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic is Sick Pay.

Every country will be different, and if you’re looking to manage an international payroll, it’s vital that you’re aware of the various requirements and rulings.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the different sick leave policies across the globe to provide insight into what’s required.


Employees who fall ill for up to 12 days in Iceland must be paid their full wage while off from work.

If they are off for more than 12 days, they can claim sickness benefits for up to 52 weeks every 24 months.

To be entitled to sickness benefits, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have health insurance in Iceland
  • Be unable to work for a minimum of 21 consecutive days
  • Have completely ceased work
  • No longer receive employment income
  • Be 16 years of age or older


In France, employees off sick are paid 50% of their average salary based on the last three months prior to them falling ill, up to a maximum of €43.80 per day.

If an employee has three or more children, the support is raised to 67% of their average wage after 30 days up to a maximum of €58.50 per day.

The duration someone receives Sick Pay is determined by their length of service or how much they’ve earned over the last three to 12 months. But, it’s typically capped at 360 days within three years.

New Zealand

Once an employee has worked at the business for more than six months, they’re entitled to a minimum of five days of sick leave a year and after 12 months service that is raised to 10 days.


Typically, in Japan, there is no sick leave and if an employee is off ill, they use their paid annual leave to take the absence.

However, it’s becoming increasingly popular for foreign employers to offer Sick Pay as a benefit.


In the US, there are no federal law requirements concerning paid sick leave.

However, each state has different legislation and currently, 12 States and Washington DC have sick leave policies, including:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • D.C.
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

How can IRIS support?

The above only highlight a small percentage of the global Sick Pay policies that you’ll need to be aware of when looking to run an international payroll.

Don’t worry, here at IRIS we offer a comprehensive international payroll outsourcing solution that alleviates your entire responsibility.

We utilise a team of highly skilled payroll managers, each of which has specialised in specific countries to guarantee compliance with legislation across the world.

To get a personalised outsourcing quote, click here.

If you’d prefer to manage your payroll in-house, we offer a comprehensive payroll solution, IRIS Payroll Professional, that can meet the complex requirements of international payroll.