Questions Answered: BPS Extended Sick Leave

July 3, 2015

In the House of Assembly today [July 3], Premier Michael Dunkley provided details on extended sick leave within the Bermuda Police Service.

In response to Parliamentary Questions on the subject, the Premier indicated that seven officers in the last three fiscal years had been on extended sick leave and that most had returned to duty.

The Premier commented, “There are some greater efficiencies to be realized in how we apply and administer the system of sick leave within the Bermuda Police Service. This is not a unique situation and part of our ongoing discussion with representative Unions across the Public Service centres on this issue of sick leave and how it affects the delivery of service to the public.

“I have discussed this with the Commissioner and he, like other department heads, is working within the existing, historic conditions of service to manage the system effectively.”

The questions and replies provided in the House of Assembly are below

Q1. Would the Honourable Minister please inform this Honourable House the length of time each police officer has been on extended paid leave, including extended paid sick leave, during the fiscal years ending 2013, 2014 and 2015?

A1. Two officers have been off for an extended period since 2009. This matter is complicated by the fact that the officers have also taken civil action against the BPS. There is no date for a final resolution, but it is expected to be soon.

Extended periods of sick leave we have interpreted as in excess of 6 months; relates to 7 officers who in the last 3 financial years have received paid sick leave as follows:

  • Officer 1 – 129 days
  • Officer 2 – 133 days
  • Officer 3 – 311 days
  • Officer 4 – 581 days
  • Officer 5 – 156 days
  • Officer 6 – 153 days
  • Officer 7 – 134 days

Q2. Would the Honourable Minister please inform this Honourable House what are the reasons for those individual police officers who are out on extended sick leave; per the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Bermuda Police Service and the Government of Bermuda?

A2. Under S17 of the Conditions of Service Order, the granting of sick leave is made on the certification of a medical Doctor. There is no limit to the amount of sick days an officer can be granted. Generally, the sick forms don’t specify reasons that individuals are on sick leave. As this is usually confidential in nature; reasons listed are ‘sick’, ‘unfit to work’ or ‘incapacitated’.

Q3. Would the Honourable Minister please inform this Honourable House when these police officers are expected to return to active duty?

A3. Of the 7 officers listed in Q1, 5 have returned to full duty, one has returned on restricted duty and 1 has not [the prognosis is unknown at this time].

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Comments (16)

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  1. Other Departments says:

    Seems as if the Premier is trying to turn the public against the police to try and win support so he can attack their benefits. Where is the reporting on the sick leave of PTB, W&E, Teachers, oh and the prison officers. Prisons have minium staffing levels and when one calls in sick then overtime must be paid to have somebody else brought in.
    Maybe their is an issue with the welfare of the police. Could possibly be low morale amongst the ranks. If that is the case the brass should take the blame. Shift work must have a detrimental effect on their health.
    I support the police and the generous sick policy because W&E, PTB, teachers, etc don’t have to deal with violence, people fighting them, etc. Maybe a can of worms needs to be opened on other departments and their sick leave before attacking the police. Not fair on the police.

    • Casual Observer says:

      The Premier answered questions put forth by PLP’s Walter Roban. Did you want him to lie?

      The sick leave usage of the other departments noted were outlined in detail within the SAGE report.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Yeah the questions were asked and he had to answer them. It’s not like he just offered that information.
      Did you even read the article?

    • Be Realistic says:

      It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

      Read the article first….

    • Just love these Government jobs.

  2. Terry says:

    Garbage.

  3. bluebird says:

    So there are some still living in LA LA LAND.
    We still have a $2.18Billion dollar of other peoples money and paying
    $170Million in interest besides still borrowing $220Million per year to keep the Civil Service paid.
    Maybe they should look at “GREECE” as that is where we are headed in the not too distant future.
    A declining population and only 441 babies born last year beside an “ECCONOMY” that is still going down.
    Unless we can “BALANCE” the budget and pay off the “DEBT” there will be NO CIVIL SERVICE as we know it beside NO PENSIONS.
    Gone are the days of increases we have to live within our means.

  4. Terry says:

    Sell Gunja.

  5. Long over says:

    It is disgraceful that the police sit back and don’t pay anything for health insurance. Not even a red cent for precriptions. No wonder they abuse it. These arrangements are way overdue for change. The rest of us and police around the world have a copay. This is highly unfair to continue this practice. Just bring an end to this or there is no way there will be further sacrifices from other unions. We were told this would be done in the budget statement…..what’s the delay!

  6. Boy Blue says:

    While that looks like a lot of sick leave for thse individuals, you all must think about why they are sick. Seven police officers are stricken with a disease that notmally affects one person for every 100,000 people. SEVEN work in the BPS and there are nine diagnosed Island wide. The issue is way bigger than Sick days. Why are so many police officers affected with this disease for which the causes are unknown???

    • between de lines says:

      Why are you being coy about the disease? Why don’t you just name it? I am guessing you might be referring to depression or something of the psychiatric nature. Understandable if that is the case in the BPS. However, if these officers are suffering from a severe or disabilitating disease, then they should be assessed by a specialist in that field with NO connection to the Service, and if the officer is found unfit for duty in the distant future, maybe they should be discharged and/or given some kind of package that makes sense rather than this indefinite sick leave. I suspect that the doctor(s) that are assigned to the service are doing a disservice to the public purse by not giving a true assessment or caring, as they get paid regardless. Bottom line, there needs to be a reassessment of this system and stops put in place to decrease the amount of sick leave and improve welfare for the officers who are truly trying to do a good job.

  7. rumour says:

    Watch this space, Police took the lead On balancing budget by reducing staff (not the sick ones though). “Doing more with less”

  8. Ann says:

    I hope this issue is addressed and looked at further beyond the police service, sorry in this day there is no reason why anyone should get a free ride, those of us paying for all these civil servants are SICK of it.

  9. Boy Blue says:

    @between de lines… Why would I do that?? The medical privacy of those individuals should be respected just like anyone else. They all are being treated by overseas specialists and have to regularly travel overseas for specialist care. As for your other comments about getting rid of them, if you read the article,the Conditions of Service Orders protect them… and not the diseases are not depression type illnesses….sigh…