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County defends staff sickness rates
4:18pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
OFFICIALS at Somerset County Council have defended the sickness rates among its staff, despite an annual report revealing that 30,000 working days were lost to sickness in a single year.
Between April 2012 and March 2013, the average number of days taken 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 foundthat 10,000 of thesedays were put down as a result of 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 throughout the year and reports annually to 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 full-time council employees; followed by colds, coughs and flu which accounted for 12%. Musculoskeletal reasons accounted for 7.5% of working days lost.
The report says the council hopes to reduce the number of sick days taken by staff by 20% going forward; 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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