Home Blog Performance Management Are sickness levels in the public sector out of order?
10
Nov
2008
Are sickness levels in the public sector out of order?

I found this editorial in The Times ‘A Sickening State’ very interesting and the points made are very valid.

I do think that organisations want to be fair, particularly to long serving employees. But long term absence is a real problem and costs public sector organisations dearly.

Evidence shows that the longer an employee is off work, particularly when the cause of absence is psychological, the more unlikely they are to return. Consider the impact on colleagues covering for the absence, the cost of temporary cover and the message that condoning long term absence gives to hard working and committed employees.

Often it is only when the sick pay reduces that an employee is miraculously able to return to work – and then on a phased basis. But employees on long term sick leave get forgotten and, worst of all, weak managers want to extend the absent employee’s full pay beyond their contractual entitlement for fear of repercussions. If you do not use the employment contract terms to make this decision, what trigger then justifies the reduction?

Public sector employers certainly are more risk averse on employment matters – and the costs of not tackling issues in a timely manner must be greater.

 

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