date: 8 December 2004
embargo: For immediate release
Attention: industrial and health correspondents, newsdesks, health and safety media
Welcoming the report from the Department of Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive on managing sickness absence in the public sector, TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances OGrady said:
'The TUC supports positive efforts to reduce sickness absence, but believes these are most effective when targetted at preventing illness and supporting the rehabilitation of those workers who are off sick. Despite the widely held view that UK public sector workers are always taking time off work, the report shows that short-term sickness absence is much lower in the public than in the private sector and lower than in most other European countries. But the levels of long term sickness absence are still worryingly high.
'There are real gains to be made from tackling the causes of long-term absence, especially stress-related illnesses. The priority must be to find ways of getting those who are ill, healthy and back to work as early as is practical. The public sector is not good at providing occupational health support or access to rehabilitation, but the report contains few practical new proposals to deal with this."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access
pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- A series of TUC rights leaflets are available on our website and from the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 9am-9pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.
Skills for Life and media enquiries : Dan Ashley T: 020 7467 1372; M: 07880 504 846;
Issued: 8 December, 2004