Mon, 15 August 2022

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Calls for ministers and employers to address the drivers of teachers’ sickness absence


1 min read Partner content

Commenting on a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly on sickness absence in the public sector, Chris Keates General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers union in Northern Ireland said:

“The issues raised by the Assembly come as no surprise.

“Excessive workload, reorganisation and job loss have all taken and continue to take their toll on teachers.

“Teachers’ health and wellbeing is suffering.

“Many more are struggling into work seen as a punitive response to sickness absence.

“Ministers and employers have to take seriously and address the issues or real concern that are damaging the health and welfare of the teaching workforce. That is the debate politicians need to have.”

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland said:

“Instead of examining and treating the causes of absenteeism among teachers, employers have focused on reviewing procedures which are aimed at tackling absence with an increasingly punitive approach.

“Figures released in the debate show that £12 million was spent on teacher substitute cover in 2011-12.

“The NASUWT believes these figures mask an abuse of the Northern Ireland Teacher Register by some schools.

“This abuse inflates the cost of teacher absence and the NASUWT believes the Northern Ireland Executive should investigate this.”