The NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has found that almost half of the entire workforce recorded an absence in the 2012/13 financial year.
That 47.7% of staff off sick equalled 275,170 working days lost and 4.9% of total working days available.
That was an increase on 263,545 recorded in the previous year, which was 4.6% of working days available.
On average staff members took 10.6 sick days, up from 10.1 the previous year and short of the 9.5 day Civil Service target.
NISRA said the estimated lost production equalled £30.8m, an increase on the £28.6m in the previous year.
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said he was concerned with the increase.
"I am satisfied, however, that this reverse in trend does not reflect any dilution in the focus across NI departments to tackle the sickness absence problem.
"Managing attendance and reducing sick absence is a key priority for departments, and clearly our work must continue and indeed intensify in some areas to ensure that the targets which are set out in the Programme for Government are achieved."
This is very disappointing news given that for a number of years we have seen a steady downward trend in the level of sickness absence.
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton
He added: "It's encouraging to note that over 50% (52.3%) of our staff had no recorded periods of sickness absence.
"Given that reducing sickness absence levels is a Programme for Government commitment, I will continue to encourage ministerial colleagues to retain a very close interest in this issue.
"I have also asked my officials to review our policies and procedures and to consider any changes or strategies that may be necessary to ensure our targets are met."
Of those that took sick, approximately one in five were absent for around three months and long-term absence accounted for 70% of the total working days lost.
Of the Executive's 12 departments all except the Department of Environment and the Office of First and Deputy first Minister (OFMDFM) recorded increased levels of absence.
Almost 30% of sick days were attributed to anxiety, stress, depression or other psychiatric illnesses and one third of those were down to work related stress.
Staff aged over 55 took the most amount of sick days while those under 24 took the least.
The NISRA report said absence levels of women members of staff was "substantially higher" than their male colleagues.
Female members of staff took on average 12.6 days, while their male counterparts took 8.8 days.
Sickness levels among the Executive departments ranged from 7.8 days in OFMDFM to 12.9 days in the Department of Justice.
The biggest contribution to sickness in the Department of Justice was made by prison grade staff who were absent for an average of 16.1 days.
We have to look behind the statistics and see what the cause is.
Kieran Bannon NIPSA
Kieran Bannon from the union NIPSA which represents public sector workers said Civil Service staff should not be demonised.
He said: "People tend to have a natural reaction to this because it is the Civil Service.
"People make out that this would not happen in the private sector and I am not sure that is the case.
"It is also important to note that over 52% of staff have no sickness whatsoever.
He continued: "The statistics also include members of the Civil Service that our union does not represent such as industrial and prison officer grade staff.
"And I think people can understand that a prison environment may cause illness.
"Also a lot of long term sick concerns cancer-type illnesses and I think people can understand that a more sympathetic approach is taken."
He added: "I have heard calls for sick pay to be taken away, but we have fought hard for people to be paid for sick absence.
"But then how far do you go?
"Do we reintroduce work houses and starting putting children back up chimneys?
"There has to be a line drawn and a lot of work is being done on this."