06/12/2013 12:17 EDT | Updated 08/12/2013 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick government says employees using less sick leave this year

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's human resources minister says efforts to reduce the use of sick leave within the public service have begun to show results.

Troy Lifford says during the first quarter of 2013, employees of government departments used almost 2,300 fewer sick days than in the same quarter last year.

A spokeswoman for his department says the total number of sick days for the first quarter of this year was 21,352, down from 23,634 last year — a drop of 9.6 per cent.

Lifford says there has been an effort to educate employees that sick leave is an insurance program for times when they are unable to report to work.

The provincial government has set a goal of reducing sick leave usage by 20 per cent by 2015.

Lifford says that would result in savings of $20 million annually.