Public sector workers take 'more days off sick'

15-05-2008

Public sector workers take 'more days off sick'
Workers in the public sector take an average of nine days off sick a year, new figures have revealed.

However, the average private sector employee has 5.8 days of illness in the working year, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Axa.

The cost of illness to the economy has been estimated at £13.2 billion, with 12 per cent of illness suspected to be not genuine.

Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the CBI, stated that it can be a difficult issue for bosses to manage.

"Employers face two serious and expensive challenges - dealing with bogus sick days, and helping those with long-term illness return to work when they are fit to do so," she stated.

The government may soon bring in a system of well notes, as opposed to sick notes, to encourage more workers with a long-term illness to slowly return back to work.

But pulling 'sickies' is also a symptom of a more serious issue, says ClickAJob chief executive Yngve Traberg.

"Attitude is the key, but you need to watch it like a hawk," he says.

"Most employees start off with good intentions. The trick is to direct them towards positive influences that make them feel wanted, with a commitment to the organisation that they are part of."

"But don't expect it to work all the time," he warns.

"When attitudes turn negative, expect absenteeism, decreasing productivity and even co-workers around the malingerer falling victim to the same poison.

"Unless there's commitment," he says, "no employer in the world can compensate for low social standing, poor education, or the ensuing mind-set that the world owes them a living.

"Where possible, try to turn the negative into a positive," he concludes. "If you find you can't, you have to take action.

"Don't let the one rotten apple spoil the rest of the barrel."

Related categories: HR / Recruitment.


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