- The independent
Nearly a quarter of the city of Rome’ s employees are off work – usually after calling in sick – at any one time, according to new figures that suggest rampant absenteeism is adding to the woes of a city that is up to its neck in debt. In 2015 an average of 5,286 city workers out of a total of 23,083 – around 22 per cent – were absent on any given day, according to the city hall statistics leaked to Il Messaggero newspaper. Some of those absent were on paid holiday but most were claiming sick leave, the report suggests. Carlo Rienzi, the president of the national consumers group Codacons, said the figures showed there were too many public employees in the city and that huge sums of money were being wasted. “Absenteeism exacts an obvious and very high economic cost for Roman citizens, in terms of reduced services and higher prices,” he said, adding that his organisation would be calling on the Audit Court to investigate. Rome’ s public services and infrastructure are regularly criticised by citizens and visitors. Accusations of absenteeism made against municipal employees are nothing new in Italy, however. More than four in five of Rome’ s city police called in sick on New Year’ s Eve 2014, leading to sharp rebukes from the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. When the absent officers faced disciplinary action they responded with threats of strike action.