Ulster Unionist Finance Spokesperson, Steve Aiken MLA, has said that the rates of sickness absence across the Northern Ireland Civil Service cannot continue to be ignored. He was commenting after the latest statistics revealed that on average 13 days per civil servant were lost over the past 12 months – the highest in 14 years.
Steve Aiken said:
“When people are unwell, they will not be productive at work so in many cases it’s better for both them and their employer that they remain at home. Yet the revelation that civil servants in Northern Ireland take on average 13 days off with sickness will amaze many of those working in the private sector. It will also likely be frustrating for the many civil servants here who take no days off at all.
"Northern Ireland’s growing absence rates also stand in stark contrast to what is happening across the rest of the UK. Cabinet Office statistics show that the average number of working days lost in the year ending March 2017 was only 7 days; its lowest ever recorded level. I simply cannot understand how on average civil servants in Northern Ireland can be sick nearly twice as much as those in GB.
“Previous Northern Ireland Executives miserably failed to tackle the number of lost days so I suspect that failure to act may be a key factor as to why our rates remain so high. Long-term absence in the NICS requires urgent attention.”