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City Worker Absences Cost Chicago At Least $10 Million A Year, Report Says

By Mina Bloom | April 20, 2016 2:34pm | Updated on April 22, 2016 11:51am
 Worker absenteeism costs the City of Chicago $10 million a year, a new report by a City Council task force discovered.
Worker absenteeism costs the City of Chicago $10 million a year, a new report by a City Council task force discovered.
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DNAinfo/David Matthews

LINCOLN PARK — The City of Chicago is losing at least $10 million every year when its employees don't show up for work, a new report says. And in some city departments, the loss is double the national average.

On the heels of budget hearings last fall, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) pointed to reducing city worker absenteeism as a way to save the city money and became co-chairwoman of the absenteeism task force. 

The task force recently released a report of its finding and said the city needs a more streamlined system when it comes to city employees calling off work.

Reporter Mina Bloom details the reports suggestions for improvement.

"The lack of consistent citywide policies and accountability standards adversely impacts absenteeism management at the department level," the report said. 

One department — the Office of Emergency Management and Communication — estimates it loses $3 million a year because of absenteeism, according to the report.

When city workers don't show up for work, the report said, departments can't perform efficiently, which leads to a loss of morale and poor quality of service.

Some of the task force's recommendations: Establish a dashboard that publicly displays citywide work rates; develop an attendance policy that's consistent across departments; and train all supervisors on the absenteeism policy. 

The city has lowered the absenteeism rate in some departments, including the Department of Fleet and Facility Management, which saw a drop in unexcused absences by one-third from 2012 to 2015, according to the report. 

"The taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent," Smith said.

"In a time [where there are] large budget challenges in our state, it's more important than ever that we provide efficient city services at a fair cost to taxpayers."

Part of the goal of the task force was to calculate exactly how much money the city is losing because of unexcused absences, she added.

Read the full report below:

Absenteeism Task Force Report

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