The Court of Auditors warns on the increase in sick leaves of civil servants

Absences for sick leave have increased in the public service, warns the Court of Auditors in a report published Thursday, September 9. The financial court therefore urges public employers to take measures to reverse the trend.

As in the private sector, but more than in the private sector. In the public service as a whole, work stoppages due to illness experienced between 2014 and 2019 “Regular and sustained growth”, notes the Court. The number of days increased by 21%, from an average of ten days per agent in 2014 to twelve in 2019. This is particularly the case in local communities. In a given week, 4.9% of agents were absent for at least one day for health reasons in 2016. In 2019, the share was 5.2%. In the private sector, we went from 4.3% to 4.4%.

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The judgments have a cost, specifies the Court of Auditors: depending on the calculation method used, this represents between 11.1 billion euros and 11.9 billion euros per year (not counting the sums committed to organize the replacement). In addition, short-term sick leave “Can significantly disrupt the daily life of public services, sometimes significantly altering the quality of service provided to users”, she recalls. And it is not indifferent in the way in which citizens judge the administration. “These stops, adds the Court, also raise important questions in terms of risk prevention and professional exclusion. “

The Court advises knocking on the wallet

The Court therefore asks “Resolute actions”. In particular with regard to short-term stoppages. ” The multiplication, she warns, short-term sick leave in a public service can be the signal of a general dysfunction which should call for the vigilance of managers. “

She advises to knock on the wallet, considering that the possibility for public employers to adjust certain allowances according to absences must be activated when the frequency of sick leaves is too high or the reason for pure convenience. Likewise, the Court also advises more reviews of judgments, which are today ” not many “. In passing, she recalls that the waiting day, reinstated in 2018 after four years of repeal, makes it possible to reduce the number of short-term stops. But, with regard to all absences for health reasons, she recognizes that the available statistical studies “Are struggling to bring about a consensus on the effectiveness of the waiting day”.

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