A major private sector body has expressed a growing sensitivity to the escalating incidence of certified illness leave being dished out by the medical profession.
Speaking at a general meeting of the Dominica Medical Association last Thursday evening, CEO of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC), Achille Chris Joseph, spoke about the cost to business, industry and the State of what appears to be a “sick leave mill” now in operation.
Joseph produced empirical data on certified sick leave in the private sector which he said was alarming and served as a wakeup call for the professionals.
Speaking on the topic, “The Impact of Workers’ Health on Productivity’ Joseph spoke of the impact of the quality of health, the impact of absences, the impact of the employers’ duty.
The DAIC CEO expressed the need for a greater national consciousness of the relevance of national productivity and the aspirations of our people. He saw the urgent need for cooperation between industries and medical professionals and the opportunity may be right to explore solutions other than a reliance on sick leave.
He made the following observations:
* The cost of sick leave to business and industry is phenomenal.
* Productivity improvement and sick absences are mutually exclusive or oxymoronic.
* There seem to be a disconnect between the authorizing professionals and the demands of national productivity.
* The plethora of sick leave may be a symptom of employment unhappiness.
* There seem to be a general discontent among workers with the opportunities for realizing their objectives.
Joseph left his audience with some empirical data on sick leave authorized by medical professionals for employees at three organizations – two private sector and one public sector:
Leaves of absence provided in law:
* 12 weeks maternity leave
* 6 weeks certified sick leave
* 2 days compassionate leave
* 2 weeks’ vacation leave (minimum)
* 20 weeks for industrial/occupational illnesses
* 52 public holidays (Sundays)
* 12 other public holidays
Joseph later informed Dominica News Online that close to 70,000 man days have been certified ill by doctors for the year-to-date and this does not include illnesses less than four days and others for which a medical certificate was not sought.