THE Isle of Man's Chief Minister ordered action to address the high levels of staff sickness within government departments in December.
It was revealed in Tynwald that the cost of working days lost in the last financial year was around £13.7 million or 4.6 per cent of salaries and wages.
The average number of sick days per member of staff was 8.4 days compared to 8.1 days in the UK public sector and 6.5 days in the UK economy as a whole.
Allan Bell MHK asked the Office of Human Resources to produce an action plan on the issue and to provide regular reports for the Council of Ministers.
He said: "Members of the public will be rightly horrified at the extent and cost of sickness absence amongst government staff. It is simply unacceptable and we have to take steps to deal with the problem.
"I have made no secret of my belief that the culture of government has to change and this is one aspect of that.
"While the vast majority of our employees are very conscientious, and most cases of sickness absence will be genuine, there is real concern that the system is open to abuse by a minority who let down their colleagues as well as the taxpayer."
Mr Bell added: "I hope that the responsible majority will welcome action in this area and that we can work with staff representatives and unions in understanding and tackling this issue."
This story is part of isleofman.com's Review of the Year 2011.