Healthy public sector puts private sector to shame

The public sector has become the envy of the private sector, benefiting from the good health of its employees. Central government departments have released information about their employees’ sick leave via a parliamentary question  from Tory MP Priti Patel.

A total of 12 departments released details of how many days were lost due to staff sickness. The Ministry of Justice had the highest count of days lost, at 749,723. While this figure sounds high, few journalists care to put it into context. Across its c. 80,000-strong workforce, this equates to 9.37 sick days per person per year, while a survey of the private sector puts the figure at 10 days.

The difference equates to 50,400 additional days in the office for the MoJ when compared to an average private sector organisation of the same size—or put another way 229 full time equivalents, a salary saving of over £5m.

The private sector has taken note, and five seminars were arranged led by public sector HR specialists designed to give the private sector an insight into the methods used by the public sector to drive down sickness absence. Unfortunately, the first two seminars were forced to be cancelled due to audience illness.


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