Sick leave shock at district council
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 22 October 2010
Staff at Fenland District Council clocked up an astonishing 8,500 days off sick last year, according to a report. The council’s 700 or so employees were each expected to take just 8.3 days off for ill health but ended up taking on average 11.51 days each.
Staff at Fenland District Council clocked up an astonishing 8,500 days off sick last year, according a report.
The council's 700 or so employees were each expected to take just 8.3 days off for ill health but ended up taking on average 11.51 days each.
This compares with a total of 6,080 days off sick at West Norfolk Council, which has around the same number of staff and an average of 8.41 sick days per employee.
And the figures for Broadland District Council was just 1,705 days lost through sickness in the year 2005-06 - an average of 7.9 days per employee per annum.
The number of sick days taken at Fenland is almost double the number of days taken by employees less than four years ago.
In 2001-02, staff sickness accounted for 7.89 days off per employee but by 2002-03 the figure had dropped to 6.44 days off.
Chief executive Tim Pilsbury will deliver the grim news to cabinet today as part of a best value performance plan for 2006-07.
His report shows how staff sickness levels at Fenland continue to rise following the average 10 days off sick recorded by employees in 2004-05.
In an appendix to the report, the growing levels of staff sickness are put down to the way the figures are compiled.
Two years ago, Fenland adopted a new 14-point policy document on staff sickness and also authorised a review of its approach to stress management and occupational health provision.
The government, which says staff sickness is costing local authorities £900m a year, says that nationally staff sickness rates among local authority workers dropped last year from 10 days per employee to 9.5 days.
Councillor Ken Mayor, Fenland's portfolio holder for quality organisation, said: "We have set a realistic target of an average of 12 sickness days for next year, but we have put in place a range of policies that will reduce this down to a genuine eight days a year over three years.
"We have just established a special team to proactively address sickness levels."
He added: "We also have a new stress policy and we are training managers to recognise early signs of stress in their staff and to deal with it before it becomes a problem."
West Norfolk councillor Bryan Bullivant said: "We are pleased that the revised sickness absence policy that we have implemented appears to be having a positive impact on sickness levels within the authority."
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