Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2023. 8:56 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Services at several government ministries and departments suffered today as reportedly hundreds of public officers called in sick at once, and the Public Service Union says that it is concerned about the well-being of those officers.
The PSU issued a statement this evening, saying that it was “informed” that hundreds of public officers called out of work today, prior to the commencement of a meeting between the Government of Belize (GOB) and the Joint Union Negotiating Team (JUNT). The union also categorized the simultaneous call outs of hundreds of public officers due to illness as “unforeseen circumstances.”
The departments affected by sick public officers include the Treasury Department, Magistrate Court, Ministry of Agriculture, Elections and Boundaries Department, Belize Tax Services Department, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Attorney General Ministry, Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, Ministry of Education, and Immigration Department. While other departments and ministries also saw staff falling unexpectedly ill, we note that these were not significantly impacted.
“The union takes this opportunity to highlight with great concern that mental health conditions within the public service are on the rise and advises public
officers to seek help where it is deemed necessary,” the PSU said. “Additionally, the PSU takes this opportunity to remind public officers that Covid-19 and the influenza viruses remain a real threat to public officers who must interact and provide public service.”
The union reminded public officers that they are entitled to a total of 16 days paid sick leave per year and that up to six days can be taken at a time without need of a medical certificate.
The PSU also said that the negotiations with GOB were cordial and that updates would be shared through each respective union to facilitate dialogue.
The JUNT met with GOB to discuss the unfreezing of increments, pension and public sector reform, and the age-old Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
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