Govt sick leave is cut by 10% saving £1.3m

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Levels of staff sickness absence across government have been cut by nearly 10 per following a crackdown.

The move has been welcomed by Chief Minister Allan Bell who launched a review 12 months ago of high levels of sick leave which was costing government nearly £14 million a year in lost productivity.

Latest figures show that in the 12 months to the end of March the average number of days lost per employee had fallen from 7.68 to 6.94, a reduction of 9.6 per cent. This had resulted in a saving overall of £1.3 million.

Figures for 2012-13 show that the average number of days lost per employee was highest within the Public Transport division and Whitley Council.

Some 29 per cent of absences started on a Monday.

The most common reasons for absences were stress, anxiety, depression, operations, hospitalisation and ‘musculoskeletal’ which together accounted for 46.4 per cent of days lost. Long term absence accounted for 59 per cent.

Mr Bell said: ‘It is clear the action I requested to address staff sickness issues is having an effect. The vast majority of our staff are dedicated and conscientious, and most cases of absence are genuine. But there has been concern about the system being open to abuse by a minority.’

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