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The rising illness
Bahrain, which is suffering from high rates of absenteeism at work, has now approved a new plan that allows civil servants in the country to take a week off to support ill family members.
October 20, 2009 2:16 by Aarti Nagraj
The Council has been debating the plan for more than a year thanks to a rise in absenteeism. According to Bahrain’s Civil Service Bureau (CSB), sick leave cost the government BD4.5 million ($12 million) last year, with civil servants taking 178,000 days off – the equivalent of five years’ sick leave. “The government loses BD117 ($310) per day and last year’s days off were an increase from the 165,000 recorded in 2007,” CSB president Ahmed al-Zayed told MPs in February.
And it’s not just the public sector that is facing problems; private companies are also seeing rising numbers of absenteeism.
“It is very expensive for someone to be absent from work,” Mohammed Saleh Abdullatif, the chief medical officer of Bahrain-based Gulf Petrochemical Industries told Gulf Daily News earlier this year.
“It is not only the absence of the worker – it is getting a replacement for them as well. For our company, it [sick leave] is about BD3,500 ($9,280) a month,” he said.
According to him, doctors were also sometimes forced to issue medical certificates to people not genuinely ill.
“I have heard of some health centre doctors being attacked because they refused to give sick certificate. Ethically, as a doctor, I should not give sick certificate to a person that does not deserve it,” he said.
In July this year, two Bahraini men assaulted a security guard at a hospital and fled after it was discovered that they were trying to get fake sick certificates.