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SKDC staff have above average sickness rates - with stress and depression common

Staff at South Kesteven District Council have above average levels of sickness- but attendance appears to be improving.

A council report said in 2018-19, SKDC employees were on average sick for 10 days compared with an average 11 days in 2017-18. The Local Government Association average is 8.8 days.

Back and neck issues were responsible for a fifth of cases, as were stress, depression and mental health issues.

SKDC Logo_Stack_CMYK (12236224)
SKDC Logo_Stack_CMYK (12236224)

The report continued: “In 2017-18 the most common cause of absence was stress, depression and mental health. This has been a focus of the Corporate Management and Human Resource team and has led to initiatives such as the introduction of the mental health first aiders.”

Short-term absences of under four weeks accounted for 32 per of the total, down from 49 per cent in 2017-18. Colds accounted for 21 per cent of them.

“There has been an ongoing focus on short term absence in the final half of 2018-19. Particular focus has been placed on ensuring return to work interviews are carried out.”

The report noted 63 long term absences of over four weeks, with 36 of them for over 8 weeks in 2018-19.

Back and neck issues were responsible for 27 per cent of long term absences, stress and depression for 26 per cent and muscular-skeletal for 23.3 per cent of long term absences.

The report said the worse directorates affected Commercial and Operational, with staff sick for an average 15 days, Resources for 11 days, but the best sector was Transformational Change, with staff sick just 1.7 days.

Within departments, finance was worst with an average 16.8 days of absence per employee, Improvement and Repairs on 16.1 days, Environmental on 15.6 days and Housing on 15.1 days. Customer Experience and Street Scene were best on 11.8 days each.

The report added HR staff would work with line managers to reduce absences , who would receive training in absence management and carrying out return to work interviews. HR would also work to automate and streamline the processes related to absences. A target absence rate of an average 8.8 days per employee would be set for 2019-20.

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