Saturday 17 March 2018

Fewer sick days after death of Celtic Tiger

Allison Bray

WORKERS rang in sick two days less a year when the recession began to bite compared with absentee rates in the boom.

Employees, on average, took close to eight days off due to illness in 2002 compared with six days in 2009, according to a new report on absentee levels by the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation.

'A Guide to Managing Absence', released today, reveals that businesses lost around €1.6bn in productivity and other costs in 2002 compared with €1.5bn in 2009.

The latest survey based on a poll of 502 small, medium and large companies using 2009 data, revealed an overall drop in the absentee rate from 3.38pc in 2002 to 2.58pc in 2009.

Minor illnesses, such as colds and flu, were cited as the main reason for short-term absences for 44pc of male employees and 49pc of female employees.

Home responsibilities were the second most cited reason by both sexes followed by recurring health problems, such as back pain.

Deirdre Lenihan, business manager for the Manpower recruitment agency, said that since the recession people were thinking twice about "pulling a sickie" or taking a "duvet day".

Meanwhile, the number of days of work lost to industrial action was down by almost half during the first half of the year, according to the latest survey by the Central Statistics Office.

A dispute involving a single construction company accounted for 70pc of the total 572 days lost to industrial action between January and the end of June.

However, the number of days lost to industrial disputes during the same period in 2010 was almost twice as many, at 1,136 days.

Irish Independent

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