The Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) is expressing concern about what it describes as a worsening of the incidence of sick leave and what this is costing the country.
Registered employees here were paid more than EC$7 million in wages while they were on certified sick leave, the DEF says, quoting available statistics.
According to the employers organization, social insurance logged more than 86,600 days of sick leave claimed by a workforce of less than 23,000.
That’s more than the 78,425 days recorded for 2010.
The figures being quoted do not include certified sick leave for less than four days.
The DEF says if this was included along with uncertified sick leave, occupational injuries, disablement, and a few other related areas, total sick leave for the year would exceed 100,000.
“It is clear that the full extent of illness on our national productivity, output and competitiveness is extremely costly,” the employers say.
The private sector is already on record having questioned in 2010, “whether a sick-leave-mill was in operation in Dominica”.
It’s a question doctors on the island who issue certified sick leave took objection to.
But the DEF says these concerns have not gone away and it is even more worried about the situation today.
Three doctors are reported to have led in the 86,697 sick days given in 2011, with one responsible for 10 per cent, another 9 percent, and the third 8 per cent.
The remaining 73 per cent is accounted for by 116 other doctors.
Dominican employers are warning that the question of the liberality of issuing certified sick leave cannot be left unchecked.
They are also expressing concern about the behaviour of employees “calling upon health professionals to support their unethical practices”.
“But even more concerning is the impact on our national competitiveness and ability to generate wealth,” the employers federation concludes.