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article imageAbsenteeism of city workers costing Windsor $5 million each year

By Andrew Moran     Nov 27, 2012 in Politics
Windsor - The city council in Windsor is trying to find a solution to the problem of absenteeism among city workers. This issue is costing the city nearly $5 million in lost productivity each year as city employees took on average 12 sick days last year.
According to data from Statistics Canada, the average Canadian worker took 7.7 sick days (9.3 days for personal reasons) due to an illness or a disability in 2011. This number is quite lower than the average sick days a Windsor municipal worker took in the same time period.
Councillors and administrations at the Windsor city hall cannot identify why absenteeism is high among its workers. As Councillor Jo Anne Gignac said city hall must find out what it’s doing or not doing, Councillor Drew Dilkens said some type of action is needed since it has cost the city $4.5 million in lost productivity.
One of the measures being enacted by city council is to have human resources specialists actually call the employees who have taken a sick day. The primary objective, according to chief administration officer Helga Reidel, is to get them back on the job quicker.
“It takes a look at the medical issues and how we can help bring employees back to work as quickly as possible to see if they need to do modified duties for a period of time, trying to accommodate employees,” said Vincenza Mihalo, Executive Director of Human Resources, in an interview with “If there is a absenteeism or chronic absenteeism problem then we would follow the collective agreement.”
The issue is being discussed at the bargaining table between the city and two Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local unions.
Mark Vander Voort, president of CUPE Local 543 representing inside workers, told the Windsor Star that he shattered his knee in 2010 and he could be one of the reasons why the absentee rate is quite high and “skewed.”
In the end, the long-term goal is to see the absenteeism rate reach 8.8 days annually.
More about Windsor, Absenteeism, City workers, Helga Reidel, Sick days
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