Labour union Isotita on Tuesday expressed strong displeasure at a recent cabinet decision which saw sick leave for government workers slashed to 28 days from the previous 42.

The decision was taken during a cabinet session on Thursday, and according to Finance Minister Makis Keravnos, it is a response to system abuses.

In a statement, the union called on the government not to submit the related amendments to parliament, asking for the public administration department “to enter a meaningful dialogue with representatives of the civil service, and not just the unions it generously finances on an annual basis”.

The union added that it had studied the framework, identifying a number of discrepancies when comparing it to older regulations related to granting leave, from 1995 to 2017, which also raised a number of requests.

The statement asked that leave time be calculated while taking into account fixed-term contracts.

It also asked that the new agreement “maintains the old boundaries, which are acquired rights”.

Regarding sick leave, the new decision will see the number of sick leave days that can be taken without a doctor’s note fall from eight to six.

Commenting on this, Isotita said it “constitutes a serious degradation of acquired rights of employees”.

“For this reason, it is deemed necessary to safeguard their interests to maintain the provisions of the old regulations regarding sick leave days,” it added.

“The marginalisation of abuse cases cannot justify a total reduction of the acquired rights of employees, especially when it comes to sickness.

The union said the priority is the protection of the truly ill and not the degradation of the rights of all employees.