Thoughts on public sector sickpay

So the labour court has agreed that the government can adjust and cut the sick leave allowances of 300,000 public servants. The old “allowance” was 7 uncertified sick days per a mum and this will now be reduced to the same per 24 months. Also the time on full pay will be cut from 6 to 3 months and same for half pay.
We’re told that the total sick pay bill comes to €500m (out of €14,000m) and that thus this will save €250m. The reforms are welcome but will they in fact save that? It seems to me several issues need to be noted. First, of the total the vast majority was for certified sick days only some €60m being for uncertified sick days. So we might save 30m here IF and only IF people were malingering and taking sikies to which they were not entitled.
Second, when people go from full to 1/2 pay (as they will do now more swiftly) they will in many cases get some social welfare. So while the sick pay element of aome €440m will fall the social welfare bill will rise by an unspecified amount. Some data on that would be nice.
Third, much gloating and pointing has been evident from the usual suspects on this issue. The typical cry is “lookit – all them lazy gits in the public sector on the sick”. One wonders what the comparative figures are for comparable private sector posts? Perhaps 3.5% of the overall budget is not unusual? Or Maybe it is. Comparable data again would be nice.
Fourth we need to compare like with like. A breakdown of this pay bill by sector would help. Defense and policing are inherently physical jobs where the chance of serious injury (and thus sick pay) is significant. Health sector frontline workers face similar issues with the added exposure to all sort of sicknesses. Again, a higher level of sickness than the workforce at large is inevitable.
The changes are welcome but let’s not get carried away either with the levels of sick pay or the savings. Not that that will stop those for whom the public sector represents a bottomless pit of sloth…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s