A representative from the EU Commission today denied any reports that it was thinking of introducing mandatory sick-leave for employees.

This puts paid to rumours that workers will be obliged to pull twelve paid sickies per year if they don't want to be penalised by the taxman.

Currently Commission employees are allowed twelve sick days per year without a doctor's note, as long as there is no consecutive stretch of absence longer than three days. Recent "flexitime" reforms within the institutions mean that staff can "recuperate" up to 24 days of overtime during the year, or two days a month.

An average employee of the EU can therefore expect 24 days of regular holiday a year, plus up to eight for seniority, age, and place of recruitment, plus the Commission's own "public holidays" (more generous than member states - call it 15), plus their 24 flexitime days. That makes at least 70, or 14 weeks.

And the twelve "non-mandatory" days off sick? Well, they're entirely optional, for the time-being at least ...

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