Civil servants could have their pay docked for taking unwarranted sick leave as part of a clampdown on ‘sicknote culture’.
Ministers will announce plans this week to tighten the rules that allow people to certify themselves as too ill to work, according to the Sunday Times. Staff may have to ring their bosses daily to prove they are not faking illness, the newspaper reports.
The measures are in a report from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which shows sickness rates in the public sector are as much as double those in private companies.
On average, civil servants take 10 days off each year for sickness. This costs the country at least £4bn a year, the equivalent of 1p on income tax and another 1p on fuel duty.
The report identifies a tendency towards a ‘Friday to Monday problem’ in which workers take long weekends off, claiming they are ill.
The Government plans follow an initiative at supermarket chain Tesco, where employees get no pay for the first three days they are sick. After the fourth day, pay begins again, and there is compensation for the first three days.