Public service absenteeism cost €320m in 2014

Civil service records highest number of days lost while education had lowest absenteeism

Gardaí took an average of 7.7 sick days last year, compared with 9.6 days for those working in the health sector. Photograph: Frank Miller

Gardaí took an average of 7.7 sick days last year, compared with 9.6 days for those working in the health sector. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

The cost of sick leave across the Public Service totalled almost €320 million last year, according to figures released on Monday.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the overall cost was down 14 per cent on 2013 as a result of a reformed public service sick leave scheme which came into effect on March 31st, 2014.

The rate of sick leave differs significantly across Government departments and other organisations within the Civil Service, with some organisations reporting an average of two weeks’ sick leave per full-time equivalent position.

The average number of days lost within the Civil Service, a subset of the public service which includes Government departments and State bodies including the Courts Service, the Office of Public Works and the Irish Prison Service, was 10.1 in 2014. The average number of days lost in Shared Services stood at 13.9 days, compared to just 1.6 days in the Law Reform Commission and the Ombudsman for Children’s office.

The department also reported differences in the number of days lost across the wider public service. The average number of days lost in the local government sector stood at 9.7 days and at 9.6 days in the health sector.

Gardaí had an average of 7.7 sick days while members of the Defence Forces recorded an average of 6.4 sick days per full-time equivalent.

The lowest level of absenteeism was recorded in the education sector where the average number of days lost stood at 6.2 days for secondary level teachers and 5.8 days among primary school teachers.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the number of days lost to sick leave across the public service last year was 8.7 days, down from 9.5 days in 2013.

This figure covers 245,000 full-time positions including Government departments, local authorities and the education, health, justice and defence sectors. The judiciary, members of the Defence Forces and staff of the Central Bank are not included in the public service sick leave scheme.

Data on the majority of non-commercial semi-State agencies, third-level institutions and education and training boards are not currently available.