Public sector employees 'more likely to skip work'
Government workers and other employees in the public sector are more likely to take both authorised and unauthorised absences from work than their private sector counterparts, a new survey has claimed.
The seventh annual absence management report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveals that the average private sector worker will miss ten days of work every year, compared to only seven and a half from a private sector employee.
However, despite this disparity, public bodies and organisations are still less likely to issue disciplinary proceedings against their employees.
Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD and author of the report, attributed the significant variances between public and private organisations to two entirely different sets of attendance management cultures.
"Managing absence is a challenge for all employers. A balance has to be struck between providing support and rehabilitation and providing a robust absence management process that uses disciplinary procedures where necessary," he said.
"Nonetheless, there does seem to be a cultural difference between how this issue is managed in the private and public sectors."
Public bodies and government institutions are also much less likely to dismiss personnel for repeated absences, as well as being less inclined to take attendance records into account for performance reviews.
Mr Willmott added that another key difference was that public services tended to view extended periods of absence more favourably, as they believe this is more likely to mean a genuine illness.
"The public services much more frequently address problem levels of employee absence as a matter of health and capability, while private sector organisations are proportionately more likely to manage absence as an issue of conduct through the disciplinary process.
"This contrast is perhaps an area that public sector organisations should consider when they are looking at ways of continuing to reduce high levels of employee absence in the public services," the adviser concluded.