Public sector workers, on average, take over twice as many sick days as private sector employees, ac...
Public sector workers, on average, take over twice as many sick days as private sector employees, according to this year's Absence and Labour Turnover Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Axa, writes Peter Carvill.
The survey showed the average number of days taken sick in the public sector stood at nine each year per employee compared to 5.8 in the private sector, an increase from last year of 0.5 days.
Long-term absence was shown to be a much bigger problem in the public sector, accounting for 37% more time lost than in the private sector.
The survey referred to research from the Health and Safety Executive to account for why the public sector fares so poorly when it comes to employee absence, citing higher proportions of older and female staff in the public sector and how some roles induced higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression.
Dudley Lusted, head of corporate healthcare development at Axa PPP, suggested the prevalence of 'low-quality' jobs in the public sector was leading to high levels of sickness.
He added: "We've also noticed private medical insurance (PMI) makes a difference of up to a day-and-a-half and the public sector has not endorsed that for many reasons."
Stephen Walker, director of Medical Insurance Services, also suggested PMI as the decisive factor between the two sectors. He said: "From a PMI perspective, my immediate thought is the possibility that the difference in levels could be due to more private sector employees having PMI provided for them which means they are getting back to work quicker. Whether that is true remains to be seen."
The survey said the most common reasons for long-term absence were psychological health problems and musculoskeletal disorders, and the best approach to cutting sickness levels was having PMI for staff and delaying occupational sick pay.
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