Public sector has 'institutionalised' culture of sick days, says civil servant

A mid-ranking civil servant has said there is an "institutionalised" culture of sick leave in the public sector.

Reports yesterday showed uncertified sick leave cost the economy €430m in 2012, with health workers and gardaí taking the most leave. The rate of sick leave in the public sector is almost twice that of the private sector.

The Department of Public Expenditure has said the cost of sick leave in the public sector is "unsustainable".

Caroline - who works in the Department of Social Protection and asked that her surname not be used - told newstalk this morning that she is disheartened by the situation.

"Although the (number of days) that can be taken without questions being asked has changed, the culture of taking sick days certainly has not," she said.

"It seems to be a paper exercise changing the entitlements - people are not changing their behaviour."

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