Public sector sick bill tops €319m in 2014
Public servants took an average of nine sick days last year - at an estimated cost of €319m to the taxpayer.
This is a decrease of 0.8 days from the 2013 figure - saving the Exchequer some €51m.
An additional 260,000 days were worked last year by public servants as a result of the reduction in sick leave.
In total, 2.13m sick days were taken in 2014.
Civil servants took almost twice as many sick days as teachers, according to figures from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The figures relate to 245,000 full-time public servants, including the civil service, local authorities, education, the health sector, the justice system and defence forces. Those employed by government departments and agencies took, on average, 10.1 sick days last year.
The Government claims the marginal decrease in sick leave payments is as a result of the introduction of the reformed Public Service Sick Leave Scheme last year.
Introduced in the majority of sectors in March last year, it was implemented in the education sector six months later, at the start of September.
Under the scheme, staff members unable to work due to illness or injury are entitled to a maximum of 92 days on full pay, in a one-year period.
Thereafter, they are allowed a maximum of 91 days on half pay in a rolling one-year period.
In total, staff are entitled to a maximum of 183 days' paid sick leave in any four-year period.