Bosses concerned over latest figures for sick days taken at authority

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BOSSES at Doncaster Council say they are worried about high sickness levels among their staff - especially for stress related illness.

A report before the borough’s cabinet described the levels of sickness absence as a concern.

The average for the council, in the latest figures published in an official report, revealed the average numbers of days lost per year is 10.85 days per employee.

But some departments have significantly higher figures, according to data from the quarter running from October to December last year.

In the adult services department, 20.16 days were lost per employee.

But the report stated the job and certain conditions in residential and home care meant the figure for adult services was always higher than average, and that the pattern is the same in other authorities.

Children’s services were also above the average, at 12.31 days per employee, up on the previous quarter.

The development department was above average at 12.05 days, a rise on the previous quarter’s figure.

Neighbourhood and community services workers lost 14.21 days sick over the year, which was also a rise, and the report put it down to stress due to re-organisation and seasonal factors.

Coun Mark Thompson, the cabinet member for corporate services, said: “The increase in sickness is a major concern to the council.

“We appreciate the position we’re going through and the effect cuts may be having on staff morale, but we’re extremely concerned - both as a cabinet and a directorate team - in relation to sickness.”

Elected mayor Peter Davies said he was surprised the sickness figures were up, especially bearing in mind the situation at the council over the prospect of redundancies.

He said: “It is far too high by any standards.

“People are living in uncertain times and we have to sympathise with staff, but in these uncertain times I would expect staff members’ rates of absence to go down, rather than up.”