Written answers

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Department of Social Protection

Departmental Staff

5:00 pm

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Question 133: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the procedures in place to manage sick leave in her Department; the sick leave entitlement in place in her Department; the combined amount of sick days taken by staff in her Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31569/12]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Officers from my Department who are absent on sick leave are required to comply with civil service policies on the management of sick leave, as outlined in Department of Finance Circular 09/2010 and with the Department's Attendance Management Policy. Where a sick absence lasts more than two working days, a medical certificate must be submitted. Repeated short term absences and sick leave absences of more than four weeks duration, which are regarded as long-term absences, are routinely referred by my Department's HR Division to the office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for review. The CMO will decide whether an appointment/confidential telephone consultation with the occupational health doctor or nurse is required, whether a confidential medical report from the treating doctor should be sought, or whether no further occupational health intervention is required due to a self-limiting medical condition. Failure to comply with sick leave policies is regarded as serious misconduct which may warrant consideration of disciplinary action under the Civil Service Disciplinary Code.

All officers are entitled to payment during sick leave absences in accordance with their terms and conditions of employment in the Civil Service. Full pay during properly certified sick absence (provided there is no evidence of permanent disability for service) may be allowed up to a maximum of six months in one year and half pay thereafter, subject to a maximum of twelve months' sick leave in any period of four years or less. Following on from this, payment can continue at a pension rate of pay, which is subject to the condition of a reasonable prospect of a resumption of duty, with an ability to render regular and effective service. An Officer's level of sick leave is taken into account when consideration is being given to the award of an increment or when an officer is being considered for promotion.

The total working days available in my Department in 2011 were 1,138,631 of which 71,680 days (6.3%) were lost due to sick leave, at a cost of €9,169,057. The most up to date figures for 2012, which are in respect of the period January to March 2012, show that there were 25,006 (6.8%) days lost due to sick leave absences from a total of 367,240 available working days, at a cost of €3,198,517. The Deputy should note that the figures provided for 2011 include sick leave (for the final quarter) in respect of the approximately 1,100 additional staff integrated into my Department from the HSE with effect from the 1st October 2011. Figures for 2012 include sick leave from these staff and also the additional 700 staff from FÁS who joined the Department with effect from 1st January 2012.


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