22 September 2023 - NW2999
Gondwe, Dr M to ask the Minister of Public Service and Administration
What (a) number of public servants were disciplined for abusing sick leave in the (i) 2019-20, (ii) 2020-21 and (iii) 2021-22 financial years and (b) steps has her department taken to curb the abuse of sick leave within the Public Service and to ensure that it does not have a negative impact on the performance of individual departments?
a) The management of employee discipline regarding the abuse of sick leave within the public service is decentralized, as per section 7(3)(b) of the Public Service Act 1994. In the decentralized human resources model applicable in the public service, individual departments are responsible for maintaining discipline and managing such cases. Therefore, specific statistics related to employees disciplined for abusing sick leave can be obtained from respective departments.
b) The Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) plays a critical role in establishing norms and standards, as mandated by section 3(1)(c) of the Public Service Act. To implement these norms and standards, the MPSA issues regulations, determinations, and directives, which guide various aspects of public service operations. Concerning leave management, the MPSA has provided guidelines through Regulations (regulation 48), the Determination and Directive on Leave of Absence in the Public Service, as well as the Policy and Procedure on Incapacity Leave and Ill-health Retirement.
Within the decentralized HR model, the responsibility to prevent the abuse of sick leave rests with the heads of individual departments, as outlined in Regulation 48(c) of the Public Service Regulations, 2016. They are expected to ensure that employees adhere to the norms and standards established by the MPSA regarding sick leave usage.
Furthermore, the MPSA has instituted the Employee Health and Wellness Framework, which enables the development of strategies, mechanisms, and interventions by government departments, components, and provincial administrations. These initiatives aim, among others, to implement Health and Productivity Management and Wellness Management within the Public Service, addressing issues that could lead to sick leave abuse.
To ensure compliance with the established norms and standards, the MPSA has also created the Office of Standards and Compliance (OSC). One of the focus areas of the OSC is the management of leave in the public service. The OSC is tasked with setting standards and monitoring compliance to MPSA guidelines, including those related to leave management. This focus on leave management by the OSC ensures that departments will be held accountable for their compliance with MPSA norms and standards in this regard.