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Public sector sickness levels defended

A union head has denied suggestions workers within the public sector are more likely to abuse the sickness system than private sector staff.

Steve Salter was speaking after it was revealed one in seven staff are on sick leave at three government-run homes.

Mr Salter admits there is concern over sickness levels and suspensions within certain areas of government, but insists firm guidelines are in place to prevent the system being abused:

Last week, Chief Minister Allan Bell expressed concern when figures showed staff sickness had cost the Manx government nearly £50 million in the four years to the end of March 2011.

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