Paid sick-leave is putting pressure on government’s purse

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In the past financial year, government departments paid out more than R310m in salaries to staff on sick leave or suspended, reports the Sunday Times.

Sonia Lupondwana has been paid just over R1m in the past 17 months – without lifting a finger. The Times reports, a director in Eastern Cape Health, she was placed on sick leave in February 2018 after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. She returned in May last year but a day later was placed on incapacity leave for six months, due to depression. The report says within a week of returning to work in November last year she was suspended for poor performance, but in February this year she was told her post had been declared redundant. Since then she has been “doing household chores and watching TV”, while on full pay.

The report says Lupondwana is among the hundreds of civil servants being paid to sit at home. In the past financial year, government departments paid out more than R310m in salaries to staff on sick leave or suspended. Public service & administration spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba confirmed that 8,097 national employees had been granted sick leave of more than three months since January 2014.

The Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) says poor management is to blame for prolonged time away from work, and that those managing leave have “no respect for the public purse”.

The Times report

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