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Costly sick leave


Chris Gollop

Costly sick leave

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Sick leave by staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars a month and the authorities are determined to get to the bottom of the issue.
This was revealed last night by chief executive officer (CEO) of the QEH, Dr Dexter James, who acknowledged that letters of intent sent out by hospital management to some staff members had led to the industrial action of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) on Tuesday morning.
Since Tuesday morning’s action, QEH management and the NUPW have met and it appears any planned action for tomorrow will no longer take place.
The DAILY NATION understands that in April last year, 23 employees took 345 days of certified sick leave. Their absence and their replacement cost Government up to $43 000 since they were above the 21-day threshold for certified sick leave.
Then in January, 12 employees also exceeded the certified sick leave limit, costing Government $10 500.
James said a complete analysis would be done to determine if it was a specified group of staff or if it occurred at a particular time of year.
Against this background, the QEH board instructed management to write to some staffers warning that they had exceeded the limit determined by the terms of agreement of their contract and such days would be deducted from their vacation leave.
According to James, the action taken by QEH management would be nothing different from what would be done at public or private sector level at any different business entity, and as such the QEH was hoping for cooperation from the NUPW in trying to resolve the issue.
In the interim, the CEO said the letters sent out to staff regarding their accumulated sick leave in January would be reviewed.

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