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Public workers’ absences targeted

20/10/2015 09:59
Public services are preparing to implement an electronic system to register civil servants’ absences from work aiming at the reduction of unjustified absenteeism and in particular of sick leaves.

A relevant study on this issue, which was jointly prepared by the administration and personnel department and the IT department, has been completed very recently.

The first decision taken was to monitor unjustified sick leave.

But along the way it was found that the computer system to be used, may record at the same time any other absences of public and hourly paid employees from their service.

The system is expected to be implemented early next year as Kypros Kyprianou, director of the administration and personnel department told StockWatch.

The electronic system, he notes, will be able to record working hours and all absences of public employees by providing accurate details.

Mr. Kyprianou stressed that the study will soon be submitted with an accompanying proposal to the Minister of Finance Haris Georgiades and to the Secretary to the President Constantinos Petrides.

The reason for conducting this study was the abuse of sick leave for many years by a significant portion of civil servants, resulting in thousands of paid work days on which these civil servants did not work.

The study will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval and will be accompanied by the recommendations of the Finance Minister and the Secretary to the President.

Civil servants are allowed eight days of sick leave per year without even having to present a certificate from a doctor.

Usually leaves exceed the allowed limit for a significant number of employees.

The only aggregated, although incomplete, data on sick leave were published last year and referred to the Finance Ministry.

The total number of ministry officials who took sick leave in 2013 stood at 1.664 from 2.445 serving employees.

The study will be integrated into the general framework concerning the modernization of the public sector. A legislative package including related reforms has already been submitted to the parliament, mainly regarding issues of promotion and salary increases.

According to statistics of recent years, the public services which record the highest percentage of sick leaves are those of health and education, Mr. Kyprianou noted.

As far as the procedural part of the system’s implementation is concerned, the obligation of acknowledging an officer’s or hourly paid employee’s absence will burden the respective head of department.

At the same time, it will be centrally monitored by the administration and personnel department.

In cases of misuse of absence from service, disciplinary penalties will be imposed, under the Public Service Act.