The monitoring data are a significant support for good management but have not been utilised adequately. The main question in the audit was whether monitoring data concerning sickness absences supports agencies' management. This document contains a summary of the main results of the audit. The entire audit report is available only in Finnish.
More attention has been paid to sickness absences recently, since resulting costs are large and sick leave is not always the best solution for the employee or the workplace. In state administration the total costs of sickness absences came to nearly 260 million euros in 2009, and they took up about four per cent of working time. It is very important to strive to influence work-related illness and sickness absences both preventively and in a way that supports sick employees. From the viewpoint of government agencies sickness absences are always losses.
The National Audit Office conducted an audit regarding this subject for which data were collected with the help of expert interviews and a written questionnaire. The target group for the questionnaire was selected from state administration as a whole so that it included organisations of different types and sizes. The National Audit Office also considers these quite noteworthy in Finland’s state administration.
The audit included an examination of an audit concerning sickness absences that was conducted by the National Audit Office of Denmark in 2009, on the basis of which five recommendations were made. The National Audit Office considers that these are also quite worthy of attention in Finland’s state administration.
The main question in the audit was whether monitoring data concerning sickness absences supports agencies’ management. As an answer to the question it was noted that monitoring data are a significant support for good management but have not been utilised adequately.
The audit drew attention to the methods used in monitoring sickness absences and recommended that the Tahti personnel information system be developed to make it easier to use and improve its reliability while ensuring adequate user training.
The audit noted that returning to work after a lengthy absence is a demanding situation both for the person who has been ill and for the work community. In order to operate successfully an organisation must have procedures agreed in advance to deal with an employee who has been ill or is recovering and to assist the employee’s return to work.