independent

Saturday 3 December 2016

Louth council workers take second most sickness leave

Published 19/10/2016 | 14:49

Louth county council has one of the highest rates of absenteeism due to sickness among its staff, according to figures released by Housing Minister Simon Coveney to Fianna Fail TD Barry Cowen recently.

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The local authority lost an average of 11.84 sick days per employee, just behind Leitrim County Council with 12 days.

The number of paid working days lost are broken down between medically certified and self-certified sickness. The sick leave rate in Louth was 5.36 per cent, of which 4.73 per cent was medically certified and 0.62 per cent was self-certified. This compares to a rate of absenteeism in the private sector of 2.35 per cent, which is lower than the figure for any local authority.

The overall cost of sick leave in the public service was estimated at €317.9 million for 2015 which represents a saving of €104.4 million on 2013.

The Government introduced measures in 2013 to halve sick leave entitlements for the public sector. The changes allow workers three months' full pay followed by three months' half pay, followed by 'temporary rehabilitation pay' for a maximum period of two years for certified sick leave.

Absenteeism rates attributed to illness in city and county councils have been on the rise for almost a decade. They have fallen significantly since 2013 but had risen until that point.

The main causes of short-term-illness absence are flus, colds and respiratory tract infections. Long-term sickness factors are musculoskeletal disorders, post-surgery convalescence and acute medical conditions such as cancers

Irish Independent

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