Public Service Sick Leave

The Herald reports:

Inland Revenue Department staff are being hauled before their manager if they have even one day off ill, as the tax agency grapples with its high level of .

The meetings, dubbed “welcome back conversations”, are part of a new initiative – Supporting Positive Attendance – introduced after the IRD noticed skyrocketing rates of staff taking sickies.

After starting the project two years ago, it had gone from second worst to third worst department in the public sector. The tactics have raised the eyebrows not only of staff, but also of an employment expert who says the department is dancing close to the edge when it comes to obligations under the Holidays Act and possibly the Privacy Act.

But the IRD is standing by its policy and says the initiative has saved taxpayers $6 million in two years.

A spokesman said that since the project was rolled out over 2013/14, average sick leave taken each year had reduced by nearly two days a person.


What I find interesting is the huge differences in average sick leave per employee by agency. You have:

  • MSD 10.5
  • TPK 9.7
  • IRD 9.1
  • Customs 8.3
  • Stats 7.9
  • SFO 4.7
  • MFAt 4.3
  • Treasury 3.8
  • DPMC 2.9
  • Defence 2.6

Now you can understand MSD and IRD being higher because many of their staff will be call centres.

But why would staffers at Stats NZ have twice as much sick leave as those at Treasury?

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