Whether police officers, judicial officials or teachers: the sickness rate in the public sector is in some cases far above the population average – and the trend continues to rise. The civil servants’ association also sees the reason in the rising average age of public servants.
Police officers are particularly likely to be ill in Saxony-Anhalt. For example, in 2015, the Northern Police Directorate recorded 40.5 days of sick leave per law enforcement officer – the highest figure in six years. Last year, there were already 25.8 days until August. The number of days absent is similarly high at the police departments South (39.6 days absent in 2015) and East (35.2).
Employees were absent only 18 days in 2016
For comparison: according to a survey by the health insurance company DAK Gesundheit, Saxony-Anhalt residents were sick for an average of 18.6 days last year. However, the level of sickness among police is comparable to that of law enforcement officers in other German states, according to the Ministry of the Interior. The increase is also said to be due to an increase in the operational load.
Road maintenance workers missed an average of 36.6 days last year, according to the Department of Transportation. High sickness rates also plague the judiciary. Officers in the prison system are particularly affected, with an average of around 30 sick days in recent years. In order to reduce sick leave, the company is focusing on occupational health management, which includes, for example, sports and vaccination programs and advice from the company doctor, said a ministry spokesman.
Teachers are most often absent from special schools
Sick leave is at a similarly high level among civil servants at the state administration office. In 2015, it averaged 28 days per employee, according to data from the agency. According to the Ministry of Education, there are no recent figures on teacher sick leave either. Among educators, teachers at special schools were the most likely to be sick in the 2014/2015 school year: On average, they were absent 30.8 days. Figures for the past school year are only available for teachers on long-term sick leave who are absent for more than six weeks. Across all types of schools, there were 376 in Saxony-Anhalt.
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Are older civil servants sick more often?
In the view of unionist Stock, the reason for the high level of sick leave is also the rising average age in many authorities. "People don’t get sick more often, but if they do, they get sick longer." In addition, there are the massive job cuts of the past few years. "This has led to a significant increase in the workload."There are areas where one colleague does the work that used to be divided between two or three civil servants, said Stock, who is also president of the German administrative union. "If you get sick then, you get really sick," said Stock.
In view of high sickness rates in the public sector, the dbb beamtenbund und tarifunion Saxony-Anhalt has called for better health care for civil servants. "Far too little is being done in this area," dbb vice president Ulrich Stock told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Many agencies lacked the resources to support their employees with health programs.