Staff paid £124,000 while suspended from council

Unison organiser Rod Padley
Unison organiser Rod Padley
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Staff at Sheffield Council were paid almost £124,000 while on long-term suspensions over the last year, new figures have shown.

The council has revealed one worker alone was off work for 13 months and another received £20,984 while suspended.

The amount of money spent on suspended staff comes despite the council’s heavy spending cuts.

The council said it has no alternative but to pay staff while they are subject to disciplinary or police investigations – until a conclusion has been reached.

Rod Padley, organiser for trade union Unison, said: “From our experience, the number of staff suspended has gone down due to loss of jobs in the last few years.

“It’s quite a sum but if you are waiting for statements and a police investigation, it could take five or six months – then the council would carry out its own investigation.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group which obtained the statistics, said: “The council should ensure investigations involving suspensions are not only dealt with properly, but also as quickly as possible.

“Long drawn out periods of suspension are hugely expensive in terms of salaries and legal fees.

A council spokesman said: “The total cost in 2012/13 was £123,883.

“The longest period of suspension was 13 months and the highest individual cost was £20,984.”