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County Council defends high sickness rates
2:00pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
SOMERSET County Council officials have defended sickness rates among staff despite an annual report showing 30,000 working days were lost to illness in a single year.
Between April, 2012, and March, 2013, the average number of days taken off sick per full-time council employee was 9.56, compared to 8.96 in 2011-12.
The annual report from the council’s Human Resources policy committee found that a large number of days off were put down to stress, anxiety and psychological reasons.
A council spokesman said: “Like any other responsible employer Somerset County Council takes the health, safety and welfare of its employees seriously.
“The council monitors the employee sickness absence rate on a regular basis through the year andreports annuallyto the HR Policy Committee.
“The council annually benchmarks its absence rate, and the council’s absence rate is just below the 2012-13 national average for similar local authorities.”
Stress, anxiety and psychological reasons, accounted for 22% of working days lost by fulltime council employees, followed by colds, coughs and flu (12%).
Musculoskeletal reasons accounted for 7.5% of working days lost. The report says the council hopes to reduce the number of sick days by 20% to an average of seven days per full-time employee.
It goes on to say: “HR managers and officers will continue to support operational managers in managing sickness absence effectively in order for the council to achieve its target.”
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