Council absence rate tops rival authorities

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The numbers of days taken off sick by staff at Sheffield Council was almost 40 per cent higher than a neighbouring South Yorkshire council last year.

In 2012-13, the absence rate was an average 12.36 days per full-time member of staff at Sheffield Council.

However, Barnsley Council said its staff took an average of 7.64 days sick leave per person in the 2012 calendar year – down from 10.31 days in 2011.

A Barnsley Council spokesman said: “Initiatives are being implemented to reduce staff sickness.”

The council has audited how it deals with absence and created protocols for the use of ‘action plans’ to manage specific ill health cases and non-medical absence.

The council also provides manual handling training to reduce potential for injury and has ‘mental wellbeing’ training sessions.

Sheffield Council’s staff sickness for 2012-13 was 38 per cent more than Barnsley’s figure for 2012 and is also higher than Rotherham, where staff took 7.51 days sick in 2012.

Unions said the reason for Sheffield Council’s higher rate was due to ‘poor morale’ as budget cuts take place.