Sickness Claims A Drain On Economy

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Government is paying out a staggering $38.1 million annually based on the approved sickness claims by the National Insurance Department.

Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this revelation recently while addressing the opening ceremony for Occupational Safety and Health Week at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa.

The Minister said though the causes varied, a poor safety and health culture would impact negatively not only on productivity, but on company morale, which was manifested in high levels of sick leave and absenteeism.

“This drain on the NIS Fund is significant because it means less money in the Fund in the long-term and it must be managed. Every workplace illness, injury and fatality imposes costs on the individual, family, the organisation, NIS, national health care budget and national economies,” Senator Byer Suckoo underlined.

The Labour Minister also mentioned research by the Productivity Council between 2012 and 2016, which showed that low employee engagement and absenteeism have impacted productivity. To overcome these negative trends, Senator Byer Suckoo suggested that there be greater investment in workplace safety and health.

“Make good management of safety and health a core value for you and your organisation. I am confident that you will see the benefits of such a worthy investment,” she said.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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