This is a quick reference guide only and is not intended to replace existing policies, procedures and circulars.  See ‘what are the relevant policies and procedures’ for further details.

The HSE is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment and to supporting employees who become injured in the course of their work. The first priority following assault must always be the safety of employees and service users. Relevant policy and protocols must be followed to ensure the necessary first aid/medical attention is provided; advice is given about employee staff supports, including referral to Occupational Health and the Employee Assistance Programme.

In the HSE Long Term Absence Benefit Schemes Guidelines a serious physical assault is defined as “the intention or reckless applications of force against the person by another without lawful justification, or causing another to be subjected to such force without lawful justification, resulting in physical injury.”

The granting of pay, under the various long term absence benefit schemes, is subject to full compliance with the provisions and conditions of the procedures as set out in the HSE Managing Attendance Policy, HSE Long Term Absence Benefit Schemes Guidelines, Rehabilitation Policy and other relevant policies. Failure to comply with any of these provisions may result in the scheme being withheld.


Do I qualify?

Employees who are absent from work as a result of a serious physical assault by a patient/client incurred in the course of their duties may be eligible for the Serious Physical Assault Scheme

Payment is conditional on the assault occurring in the actual discharge of the employee’s duties, without his / her own fault and by some injury attributable solely to the nature of his/her duty

It can be paid for a period of up to 6 months for officer grades and 3 months for general support staff. Payment under this scheme does not affect your entitlements under the Sick Pay Scheme

Can payment be extended?

In the case of nurses, who may be eligible, the following two special extensions to this scheme may apply;

(a) First Extension

If the nurse does not resume duty during the six month period, the line manager/appropriate manager should arrange another appointment with Occupational Health for six weeks prior to the expiration of the six month period

If the outcome of this assessment is that the nurse is not yet fit to resume duty, but there remains a reasonable expectation that he/she will return to work, then the line manager/appropriate manager may seek a special extension of the pay arrangements for a period not exceeding three months

(b) Second Extension

In line with the provisions of the Serious Physical Assault Scheme the line manager/ appropriate manager must arrange a further appointment with Occupational Health for six weeks prior to the expiration of the first extension period

If Occupational Health assess the nurse is still not fit to return to work, but there still remains a reasonable expectation that the nurse will return to work, then a final extension may be granted for a period not exceeding three months

The process for authorising these extensions is through the original application channels (see ‘what is the application process’) and if approved, the line manager/appropriate manager must notify the nurse, the HR and payroll department

What is the application process?

To apply for the scheme a HR Form 108 needs to be completed by you and your line manager/appropriate manager and submitted in a timely manner. If you are not able to help complete the application, due to the nature of the assault, your line manager/appropriate manager will complete the form to minimise delays

The line manager/appropriate manager must review the application to determine if you meet the criteria of the scheme

If your application is deemed eligible, the line manager/appropriate manager must complete the form and submit it to the relevant Senior Manager/General Manager, along with copies of the Incident Report Form, Occupational Health and other Reports, witness statements etc. for approval

The Senior Manager/General Manager will make a recommendation on the applicability of the scheme and submit it to a senior HR Manager for a final decision

Who makes the final Decision?

A senior HR Manager makes the final decision on approval for the Serious Physical Assault Scheme

What if the application is approved?

If the application is approved, the HR/Employee Relations Department must advise you of the decision. The letter will also set out the terms of the Scheme and the payment provisions. The HR/Employee Relations Department must make the necessary arrangements for the payment of the Serious Physical Assault Scheme, by notifying the local payroll/personnel administration section to make the appropriate arrangements so that you are paid correctly

What if the application is NOT approved?

If the application is refused, the HR/Employee Relations Department must advise you of the decision and the reasons for refusal

How long does the process take?

The application is dependent on timely application and the provision of relevant medical documentation. On-going attendance at Occupational Health is an important part of this process

Does it affect my pension/superannuation?

No it doesn’t.  Time spent on this scheme is reckonable for pension purposes

How is payment calculated?

Payment includes basic pay, allowances and premium pay that you would have earned if you were still at work, less any social welfare benefits payable. All HSE employees are required to provide notification to the HSE of the amount of Illness Benefit/Occupational Injury Benefit that they are eligible to receive from Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) during periods of medically certified absences. See HSE HR Circular 005/2018

The first extension for nurses are paid at this rate also, however the second extension of the scheme for nurses is for basic pay only

Are medical costs covered?

You may recoup the costs charged for hospital and medical treatment as follows:

  • A refund for expenditure incurred in respect for treatment provided by the Irish public health service
  • General Practitioner, Casualty and Consultant visits
  • Prescription charges

You must claim under medical insurance schemes where appropriate (e.g. V.H.I.; Refund of Drug Schemes, etc.) in the first instance. Any payments made in respect of hospital/medical costs will be solely in respect of excess expenditure by you

Will there be a monitoring process?

Yes, during the three/six month period the line manager/appropriate manager, in conjunction with the HR/Employee Relations department, will monitor your sick leave on a monthly basis. You must comply with regular medical assessments to determine your capability to return to work and to identify appropriate measures to facilitate your return

You must attend for Occupational Health assessment and participate in the rehabilitation process in line with their medical recommendations, in order to facilitate a return to work as soon as possible

In cases where the Occupational Health Physician reports that you are unlikely to be fit to return to work for the foreseeable future, or are permanently incapacitated, then the Injury Grant Scheme should be invoked following the procedures outlined in HSE Long Term Absence Benefit Schemes Guidelines (2012)

Can I appeal?

If you are dissatisfied with the decision for payment under this scheme, you can appeal the decision through the Grievance Procedure

There is provision for a nurse to appeal a decision, in relation to eligibility to an independent Appeals Board under the Revised Serious Physical Assault Scheme. You can contact the HSE Corporate Employee Relations department for information about this

What are the relevant HSE Policies and Procedures?

HSE Managing Attendance Policy

HSE Rehabilitation of Employees Back to Work after Illness or Injury Policy

HSE Long Term Absence Benefit Schemes Guidelines

HSE Management of Aggression and Violence at Work Policy

HSE HR Circular 04/2008  – Insurance Based Scheme for nurses employed in Mental Health Services

HSE HR Circular 29/2008 – Insurance Based Mechanism to address Significant Trauma

HSE HR Circular 5/2014 – Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations 2014

HSE HR Circular 002/2017 – Extension of (1) Insurance Based Scheme and (2) Insurance based Mechanism, to Nurses employed in Emergency Departments and Related Areas

HR Circular 014 2018 re Changes to Critical Illness Protocol

HSE HR Circular 005/2018 – HSE Sick pay and Illness/Occupational Injury Benefit Payments from DEASP

Where can I find further information?

Talk to your manager and local HR service

Contact the HSE HR helpdesk at 1850 444 925 or email

Where can I find further support?

See for information on supports for employee including a contact list for counselling in your service area