Sick leave claims in Barbados are proving to be too costly and Labour Minister, Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, plans to remedy the problem.
According to Barbados Today, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) paid out $24 million in sick leave claims at the end of 2016.
Some 54, 000 people benefited from last year’s sick leave payouts.
Speaking at a church service marking the 50th anniversary of the National Insurance Department at the St Michael’s Cathedral, the Labour Minister said she has already begun to petition the island’s medical practitioners to think twice before prescribing sick leave.
“We have begun discussions with the members of the medical fraternity, with the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners to sensitize the medical profession to the impact of prescribing sick leave when other options could be just as effective,” the Minister of Labour said.
She lamented that the large volume of sick leave claims had also created a backlog of “unacceptable delays in processing”, but assured that the NIS would ensure Barbadians received their benefits.
Byer-Suckoo, who is a medical doctor, urged Barbadians to adopt healthier lifestyles to fight off the epidemic of non-communicable diseases.
She suggested that the diseases are major contributors to the number of sickness and disability claims being processed by the National Insurance Department.