Workers for the Health Service Executive in Ireland cost the Irish taxpayers $367m in sick leave, new figures reveal.

According to the Herald, almost 5,000 health workers call out of work every day due to illness. Many of these civil servants also make a miraculous recovery just when their pay is about to be cut.

The paper reported that the issue impacted Minister for Health James Reilly’s office where, over the course of a year, eight staffers cost his office some $180,000.

“All of the absences are due to sick leave, uncertified and certified, and relate to staff in Hawkins House,” Dr Reilly stated in a reply to Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin O Caolain.

The problem has been described as a "black hole" by critics who say the money could be spent on services for hospitals and local clinics.

Billy Kelleher, the Fianna Fail spokesman on health, urged the minister to put in place a system to analyze the issue in more detail.

“People may be under stress at work. Systems should be put in place to make sure people are not under pressure. If there are abuses, that issue has to be addressed,” he said.

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