Monday 19 March 2018

Tough diagnosis: 70-year-old policy full of aches and pains

Anne-Marie Walsh

SICK leave policy in the local authorities is about 70 years old.

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government said a policy document exists that was drawn up in the 1940s, but it was not to hand yesterday.

A spokesman said this document represents the department's centralised policy on absenteeism, but then each manager "must deal" with their own council.

This probably means there is a lot of variety in the way regulations are interpreted and implemented in the city and county councils.

However, some light can be shone on the mysterious policies that have developed in local government.

Some councils have their own policy documents on sick leave.

Some of these polices are more detailed than others, and some -- despite the department's centralised document -- have different procedures to others.

Clare County Council gives some details of its policy on its website, while South Dublin County Council has a comprehensive 'attendance management policy and procedures' document.

Generally, a worker must produce a medical cert if they are out for more than two days in a row.

The Clare policy note says all absences, whether certified or uncertified, have to be notified immediately to the head of section or the human resources department by phone.

Uncertified sick leave cannot be taken for more than two days in a row and can't exceed five days a year.

South Dublin County Council's document gives far more detail on what is expected when staff fall ill, and includes the penalties for persistent sick leave offenders.

But it allows seven days uncertified sick leave in a 12-month period.

Workers must produce absence reports and can be docked pay if they refuse.

Irish Independent

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