DAIC: Private sector sensitive to illness leave

CEO of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC), Achille Chris Joseph.

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.

Sick leave data from three employers. (The vertical axis is man-days)

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.

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29 Comments

  1. mirundap
    November 6, 2010

    Cool

  2. NEUTRAL
    September 29, 2010

    What if any attempt has been made to making the workplace such that people want to get up and go to work. It is in the interest of the employers to institute a Model Work Place Program. A program that deals with conflict and stress in the workplace,

  3. really
    September 29, 2010

    @EXCUSE ME: You making no sense at all. I agree with Investigate them
    1000%.

  4. Dominican abroad
    September 28, 2010

    @Anonymous: I got the impression that Mr. Joseph was just doing his job by reporting on the data from a study. Why are you so hard on him? There are times people are genuinely sick and there are other times people simply choose to stay home because they will get paid anyway.
    However, if some companies elect to give an incentive to those who do not take advantage of the sick pay like my company does, then you would have less people calling out and more productivity.

    If I do not call out sick for the entire year, I get paid for 5 extra days at the end of the year. This money comes in very handy around Christmas. Something like that or similar would make a difference. Don’t blame the messenger!

  5. too dam fass
    September 28, 2010

    some supervisors/managers/workplaces are wicked and bad-minded. the problem is at the top with management… you work, you work, you work, not a thank you or job well done, no incentives, but before you send in a sick leave paper or call in sick is a problem with them… they out of the office getting all their personal stuff done, their business moving forward but you yourself always steps backward. that exploitation must stop! before you die they have a replacement there waiting; sometimes not even a wreath they will remember to send to your funeral or a sympathy card to your family…dam wicked people!

  6. Anonymous
    September 28, 2010

    just a note to those supervisors and managers that have the idea that they can fire an employee for being on certified medical leave, this can not be, it is legally wrong. yes it is true that they can say that the person is not performing but they must have concrete proof of that because a person can be on frequent sick leave and still get a good evaluation at the end of the day. The law of
    Dominica makes provision for six weeks of certified sick leave in which the employer must pay a percentage of the employer’s salary so why is mr joseph questioning pple sick leave

  7. Food for Thought
    September 28, 2010

    Maybe just maybe Mr Joseph and the DAIC should look at the causes such as stress on the job, terrible bosses/management who dont hve a clue about managing organizations, use divide and conquer tactices to control staff and “keep them in their place”, enjoys and rewards brown nosers, harrasses staff, sexual and otherwise, are vindictive, gives small pay but the workload is heavy, send home persons and adds on to ur workload, how can u pay a person 500EC and require them to work 6 days or week, cant give u a raise in years but employs other staff with more pay, , no appreciation, poor working environments, staff relations. this Mr Joseph is what prevails at the businesses in DA, while the small ppl suffer the bothas as the wanna be bothas who do the bidding of the bothas, the biggest a**** lickers and their children live a life of luxury!

  8. Business man
    September 28, 2010

    70,000 days??? Does not sound correct at all.

  9. too dam fass
    September 28, 2010

    yes, sick leave is addressed and making a hit! but what about the poor conditions people are working in; broken desk, hot and unbearable environments, dinosaur computers that are slow and takes years to open; worked overtimes with no payments; falling ceilings overhead; broken tiles/floors; old filing cabinets and the list can go on and on. i guess people only address the issues that they want too. Mr. Joseph go around in government and other private offices to look at some of the working conditions/environments employees are faced with day to day and work is still being done!

  10. Big Toe Lee
    September 28, 2010

    Boy I am on the fence on this one – “ If I sick I sick!” some time it’s a mental day or week off I need – sorry, but I will take it.

    On the other hand – calling in sick repeatedly causes a serious drain on government and industries. It’s a balancing act.

    But, this all goes back to a lack of leadership and patriotism on our island. When one doesn’t feel connected to an institution, they don’t give a f#$k about it’s welfare or survival. But what they fail to realize is that their actions could lead to the company failure, and they will be out permanently sick with unemploymentritis!

    Bear in mind Dominica, the more capitalist we get as a society, the more cut throat businesses get – then it’s nothing personal – just the economical bottom line!

    “Sah say La Vie”

  11. mannn
    September 28, 2010

    So they figured being unprofessional at their jobs wasn’t enough, now they always on a sick leave, well look jokes. Fire their B***** C******T!

  12. EXCUSE ME
    September 28, 2010

    @Investigate Them<
    @
    Investigate Them: CHUPESSSSSSSSSSSSS. im presently studying abroad doing my post grad. now there are days im too darn tired too study but im on DNO and FB. does that mean im not tired. plz. same for persons who are ill. sometimes a person is too ill to come to work but this doesnt mean that the individual cannot do something at home. in fact at home the person gets more time to relax, unlike at home. if that eployee collapes at the workplace then only a sympathy card will be sent (if it is sent) to the family and before you know the managet will be employing someone else.
    If someone is sick i say stay home. Dont come questioning ppl feeling sick. whats wtrong if the person goes to town. aa. chupes

  13. Nature Boy
    September 28, 2010

    I am firmly of the view that if one does not report to work, for any reason other than that presented by a medical professional, he/she should not get paid. Although that is the law and it is left to the discretion of management, if this is enforced, many more people would report to work and not just stay home claiming they have headache or whatever other body part ache, just because they know they will get paid anyway. Why should you be paid for not working? I also believe that the medical practitioners should exercise a lot more prudence in their issue of medical certificates.

  14. Anonymous
    September 28, 2010

    Mr. Joseph, it seems like you have a doctorate in medicine too, how can you question the medical professionals on carrying out their jobs? why don’t you find out why so many people are getting sick in certain jobs? Most of our employers, supervisors and managers are the cause of alot of employees sickness. They do nothing to motivate their staff and give them incentive to go the extra mile, all they do is frustrate workers and have them depress. Just the thought of coming to work makes some pple sick!
    Another thing is that, you don’t have to be bedridden to be considered sick. Most times you may be looking fine and you may be more sick than someone that is actually looking sick.
    So mr, Joseph while you are giving advise to the doctors, look in the mirror and in your backyard. advise those wicked managers and supervisor to treat workers with respect. Advice them to stop using and abusing their workers and maybe we will see a decline in sick leave.

  15. This is not TV.
    September 28, 2010

    Is Mr. Joseph a doctor? so with what authority can he claim that the people with sick leave are not really sick. This increase in sick leave could be because are number of reasons: i.e. (1.) Poor working conditions, (2.) stressful society that we live in. (3.) Poor diet (4.) Lack of exercise and the list can go on. It is not reasonable to just claim that doctors are dishing out sick leave. I think their are individuals that are abusing the system for thier personal gain and efforts must be made to prevent this from happening but i think saying that doctors are dishing out sick leave is reckless on his part. A doctor has a resposibility to his patients and thier health not to the companies that his patient works for and he should not rick someones health just to please the DAIC. We need to look at things more objectively and business places must now look at ways to enhance the health of their works, for example subsidizing gym membership, making sure that their worker are not overworked, getting sufficient leave and rest ect.. I am of the opinion that we are living in a stressful and unhealthy society which could be one of the factors contributing to the increase in sick leave.

  16. THA TRUTH
    September 28, 2010

    PARDON MY BAD GRAMMER BELOW READERS..I WAS ANGRY AND WAT TYPING QUICKLY…HOW MR ACHILE…ACHILD…WATEVER HIS NAME IS CAN READ IT TOO…

  17. THA TRUTH
    September 28, 2010

    UMMMM..PARDON ME..BUT MR ACHILE…ACHILD…A CHILE OR WAT EVER UR NAME IS….SICKNESS IS NOT A BULLET WOUND TO THE CHEST….SICKNESS CAN BE STRESS RETATED…AND IF A QUALIFIED MEDICAT PRACTICIONER THINKS A NEED A WEEK OFF FROM A STRESSFULL WORK ENVIRONMENT SO I COULD LENTHEN MY LIFE…SHOULD YOU KNOW THEN THINK OF WAYS OF MAKING THE WORK ENVIRONMENT LESS STRESSFULL?? ITS A TWO WAY STREE BUT U SEEM BLIND TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS COIN.

    WHY DIDNT YOU COMMENT OF THE LEGIT CASSES ALSO?? WHY DIDNT YOU SUGGEST THAT THE WORK ENVIRONMENT BE ALSO MADE MORE WORKER FRIENDLY?? SO AS TO AVOID “MOST” EMPLOYEE FILED BEING FILLED WITH YELLOW PAPER AS U CLAIM??…IT WOULD APPEAR UVE SEEN ALL EMPLOYEE FILE IN DOMINICA…

    FURTHERMORE I SUGGEST YOU GO THROUGH THE 7 YEAR PROCESS OF BECOMING A QUALIFIED DOCTORE BEFORE YOU COME HERE AND SHOOT YOU ONE SIDED PISTOL WILDLY.

    LOW PAY..POLITICAL INFLUENCE…BAD WORKING CONDITIONS ARE ISSUES WHICH YOU AND UR DRONES NEED TO DEAL WITH BEFORE YOU ADDRESS THIS SICK LEAVE ISSUE…WE ARE NOT ROBOT…WE WILL GET SICK…WE WILL GET TIRED…WE WILL GET STRESSED…WE WILL REQUIRE SICK LEAVE….AFTER ALL SIR…

    IM NOW WONDERING WHY IM PAYING SOCIAL SECURITY??…OM NOT AS SMART AS YOU UPPER CLASS FOLKS SO MAYBE U COULD ALSO ADDRESS WHY THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRES I FILL OUT THE SICK LEAVE FORM FOR SOCIAL SECURITY.

    SO MR ACHILE…ACHILD….FLIP THE COIN OVER AND STOP BEING A BIAS REAR END SEEKING ATTENTION….DEAL WITH THE ISSUE WHICH CAUSES THE ISSUES….SHATE MAN!!!!!

  18. Anonymous
    September 28, 2010

    This is interesting … how the heck is a supervisor/manager able to question a Medical Certificate. Yes it is true that a lot of employees play sick jut to get time off. But to ask that of a supervisor/manager is madness.

    What the employer should do is warn that employee that if this continues he/she will be dismissed. After all that person would not be producing

  19. d minister
    September 28, 2010

    there are people who are genuinely sick o.k,,,,,,we in d.a work our butts off,,,,so i doh want the pretenders to spoil it for the hardworkers,,,,alot of sickness is through stress n most of us hate our miserable lil jobs dat can barely pay rent,,,,,so if i on f.b n i say i home watching a bad kungfu dere,,,so u saying i not sick,,,allu have joke,,,,,so if u see me walking in d ville i not sick,,,,well go n train to become a certified physician den come n talk,,,,sumone don’t have to fall down to be sick,,,,i remember in d.a i use to work my butt off,,,,rain or shine,,,, tremor or landslide,,,,cold or flu,,,,n it take a toll no lie,,,,once i had a flu dat last for like 2 weeks papa coming work with my rubbitussin etc,,,,i checking if is h.i.v i have lol,,,,,sore throat n all,,,,but i realise whenever i out side i much betta,,,,,it stop,,,,,den some months after it come back again,,,,i say i not playing dis time,,,i go to the dr,,,, and i told him the symptoms,,,,he examined me and told me the problem,,,,,,but insisted that i stay home for a week,,,,cause the air condition is wat keeps it going on like that,,,,,trust me dat flu was bad,,,,,,,well dat explains why i feel better outside,,,,,now if i had go the first time den i’d have had 2weeks medical leave plus my 2 weeks normal leave rite,,,,,so dat means i ripping off the system no no no,,,,n e work place that don’t require a doctor’s request for sick leave not ready yet,,,,,n yes my work place required one ok,,,,,,how much can u really pay a doctor to rite up a fake request,,,,i believe dat is jus speculation,,,,,most doctors won’t do that bcuz of fear that the public might find out n that is bad publicity,,,,,,,yes dere are dishonest people but don’t try n let the medical fraternity think that they should not act according to their guidance from training recieved,,,,,o.k,,,,,,,,,,one ting i’ll agree on is dat d/cans love to do extracurricular activities on work time,,,,,,,,like mwey mem posting on d.n.o lol nah i on my 15 minutes break lol

  20. Alas
    September 28, 2010

    @Investigate Them:
    So wat u saying, if a person home and not feeling well dey are not allowed to go on fb. bull ***
    a person may be ill and really needs to go roseau to do something important.. d person might be going back doc/ buying medicine.

  21. concerned
    September 28, 2010

    The issue here should not be the high instances, but rather what is the cause of it. In business decision making, Mr. Joseph should be aware the cause-effect factor. The question here should be what causes the frequent absences and now the private sector body should do an analysis of the working conditions and other internal factors affecting employees which will prompt their absences.

  22. wellwell
    September 28, 2010

    investigate them that fine i agree

  23. wellwell
    September 28, 2010

    Best interest
    i agree and disagree with you.
    how would u like to be put on medical board off or a member of your family or children

  24. Just A thought
    September 28, 2010

    Every employee should be given a set amount of pad sick leave and vacation leave every year.
    Where it be earned per month, or every year you are given a set amount of hours. People do get sick, whether burned out from the job, headaches, or a toe-nail comeout. If that employee uses up all his/her sick leave then this comes out from vacation time.

    Sometimes if you want a personal day, you can just use one of your sick days or vacation days.

  25. Anonymous
    September 28, 2010

    Mr Achille Chris Joseph

    I am one who believe in accountability and intergrity. i applaud your concern about person who take sick leave and by far are not sick. But my god Mr joseph you don’t know my body you cannot tell me wether am sick or not, for instance am sick the doctor gave me 1 wk sick leave within that wk am still not feeling well where i have to go back to the doctor he inturn extend my sick, cause he or she know that am not well and by far my body.

  26. only
    September 28, 2010

    Although there are those that certainly take advantage, there is also a vitamin and mineral deficiency problem here. Vitamins and minerals should be allowed into the country duty free.

    There is also the work ethic problem in this country.

  27. Anonymous
    September 28, 2010

    Mr. Achille Chris Joseh
    i respect your concern about the amount of sick leave persons are taking, i understand that their are person who comit those act (by taking sick leave when they are not sick) am one who believe in accountability and intergrity.
    But my god mr joseph you dont know my body u cannot tell me if am sick or not, let take for instance the doctor gave me a 1 week sick leave within that wk am still not feeling well where i have to go back and he has to extend that leave (what should i do go to work sick, fall down and then the work place can replace me with seconds).

  28. BEST INTEREST
    September 28, 2010

    Thie is an epidemic which needs to be cured. I firmly believe that the perpetrators should be dealt with personally. Most times, it is the same people who continue to abuse the system. It is imperative that supervisors and managers nip the problem at the bud. Address and approach the ones who continue to abuse the system. Give them verbal warnings and written warnings. If there is a genuine illness, which continues to affect their performance, then the person should consider a medical board off.

    Workers need to take their jobs seriously and give the employer value for money. Most of our society want the money yet do not want to do an honest days work for the money. This is the equivalent of stealing. Doctors want clients but they must not aid and abet to get clients.

    On the other hand, if more of our working population is getting that sick, something is really wrong. This means we no longer have a healthy society. This is another whole story.

  29. Investigate Them
    September 28, 2010

    I know for sure that some of these workers play they sick and when you do check they walking in Roseau or on Face Book saying what they doing. One should present an acceptable Doctor’s request for sick leave to their supervisor or boss. Most of them call in sick even when it rains to stay in bed and cover up….All the evidence is on FB

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