28/09/2007

Robinson Pledges Action On Civil Service Sickness

Finance Minister Peter Robinson has pledged his commitment to improving attendance within the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

It comes after a report was published detailing sickness absence of staff that revealed bsences had cost the taxpayer approximately £25 million in the last financial year.

The report highlights that in the past year, the sickness absence rate per staff was 13.7 days, compared to last year's figure of 13.4 days.

The main reason for long-term absence was due to psychiatric or psychological illness.

The Minister said: "This report illustrates clearly the extent of the problem with sickness absence across the civil service. While significant efforts have been made, my ministerial colleagues and I are committed to improving attendance in all departments.

Clearly, long-term absence is an area which we need to target for particular attention and action. I am encouraged to note that just over 40% of staff had no sick absence at all during 2006/2007 and a further 32% of staff had only one recorded absence.

However, more needs to be done if we are to see meaningful and sustained reduction and to meet our target of 9.5 days by 2010."

Mr Robinson yesterday said that Civil Service reform is a top priority for government, including the reduction of administrative costs and absenteeism.

(LC/SP)

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