ROSEAU, Dominica, Jun 29, CMC – The Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) says many workers were reporting sick for duty and wondered whether or not some medical practitioners were engaged in a practice costing the island millions of dollars.
Figures released here show that employees, who presented certified sick leave papers, were paid more than seven million dollars (US$2.59 million) in salaries and wages.
The DEF said that social insurance logged more than 86,600 days of sick leave claimed by a workforce of less than 23,000.
It said that the figures are more than the 78,425 days recorded for 2010 and does not include certified sick leave for less than four days.
The employers’ organisation said that if those statistics were included along with uncertified sick leave, occupational injuries, disablement, and a few other related areas, the total sick leave for the year would exceed 100,000 days.
“It is clear that the full extent of illness on our national productivity, output and competitiveness is extremely costly,” the DEF said, recalling that in 2010 it had reason to question “whether a sick-leave-mill was in operation in Dominica”.
But while the medical profession has dismissed the suggestion, the DEF said that nothing has happened since 2010 to ease its concerns.
“But even more concerning is the impact on our national competitiveness and ability to generate wealth,” the DEF said.
The Dominica News Online website said that three doctors accounted for 27 per cent of the 86,697 sick days given in 2011, with t116 doctors accounting for the remaining 73 per cent.