Magazine article Public Finance

Government Needs to Crack Down on 'Sickies', Says CBI

Magazine article Public Finance

Government Needs to Crack Down on 'Sickies', Says CBI

Article excerpt

The new Labour government needs to get a grip on spiralling public sector absence rates, which cost the economy more than £4bn last year, business leaders have urged.

The CBI's latest survey showed that in 2004 public sector employees were absent for an average of 9.1 days in 2004, compared with 6.4 days for their private sector counterparts. The 2.7-day difference is an increase on the two-day gap between the sectors exposed in the 2003 survey.

The CBI claimed that if the public sector could reduce its absence rates to private sector levels, absence would fall by more than 20 million days and save the taxpayer some £1.2bn - enough to pay the salaries of 37,000 new teachers.

CBI director general Sir Digby Jones said: 'These findings will make worrying reading for the newly elected government. If ministers fail to deal with this problem, poorer frontline services or higher taxes will be the result. …

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