Sickness absence levels in Northern Ireland councils are the highest in the UK, official figures show.
Auditors have collected statistics which reveal that workers in the country took an average of almost 14 days per employee in 2018-19 – a 13% increase in five years.
The findings come from a joint report by Northern Ireland’s two public sector auditors.
Teachers in Northern Ireland also take more sick days than other parts of the UK, according to the report.
Overall sickness absence in the Northern Ireland civil service has also Auditor General Kieran Donnelly and Local Government Auditor Pamela McCreedy warned that sickness absence is placing a strain on services.
They said that long-term absences are, in many cases, caused by mental health illness as being a key reason for the high levels of sickness.
Northern Ireland has the highest rates of mental illness in the UK with one in five adults experiencing a mental health problem at any given time.