Barbados: Gov’t to address “abusive” sick leave culture

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Barbados: Gov’t to address “abusive” sick leave culture

(BARBADOS NATION) — According to the report dated October 2018 which was prepared by the Personnel Administration Division (PAD), employees from just five Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) cost “$3.8 million in overdrawn salaries due to absences arising from sick leave”.

Permanent employees were among the biggest offenders making 6 126 applications for leave of absence for 2017, according the Smart Stream HR database. Of this, 4 537 were for sick leave and 1 589 were for extensions of leave. This resulted in 49 788 days, with just over 30 per cent (15 955) representing sick days.

Permanent employees are eligible for 21 days’ sick leave and temporary workers 14.

The latter accounted for 2 247 sick leave applications, resulting in 11 500 days taken. This data was only for 100 out of 123 MDAs, suggesting the situation is much worse.

The problem of sick leave was so acute, in 2011 it prompted head of the Civil Service, the late Avril Gollop, to establish a Sub-Committee of the Committee of Permanent Secretaries to review the situation and find solutions for what was not only becoming “an integral part of the public service culture”, but was “abusive”.

That sub-committee found officers were taking sick leave for deaths or funerals, personal appointments and child-related matters, and recommended officers be encouraged to only take sick leave for illness. (SAT)

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