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Focus On Series

Leave Management

All public sector organizations experience some degree of unplanned leave (sick leave, bereavement leave, family emergencies, etc.), which can create management and budgeting challenges: unplanned leave can create significant financial costs, disrupt service delivery and compromise the achievement of organizational objectives. In addition to direct costs (salaries, overtime payments, replacement staff costs and increased workers’ compensation insurance premiums), organizations must also assume the indirect costs of unplanned leave, including disruption to service delivery, lost productivity and adverse impacts on the physical or psychological health of other staff, particularly those who have to perform additional duties due to staff absence. Organizations are also expected to control and reduce the rate of unjustified absence (i.e. taking sick days when not actually sick).

Audits of leave management tend to focus on whether public sector organizations:

  • are effectively and efficiently managing unplanned leave;
  • have adopted and implemented policies, strategies and guidelines to facilitate the management of unplanned leave;
  • have set and met unplanned leave targets;
  • have taken adequate measure to control and reduce the abuse of sick leave benefits;
  • are monitoring unplanned leave, analyzing trends and reporting periodically on the situation to central agencies, Parliament and the public.

Click here for examples of objectives, criteria, findings, recommendations and more