Departmental Sick Leave

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many days absence through illness staff in his Department have had in each month since 1997.

Photo of Dan Norris Dan Norris Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The information requested could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost, therefore we have supplied data which shows the total and average working days lost through sickness in DEFRA and its Agencies in each year since 2002. Data for earlier years are not available. The end dates of the 12-month periods vary between years due to the way that data were collected at the time. Data to the 12 months ending 31 December 2009 are given as information to 31 March 2010 are not yet available.

12 months ending Total working days lost Number of staff Average working days lost
31 December 2002 120,800 14,209 8.5
31 December 2003 121,200 13,846 8.8
31 December 2004 107,000 13,857 7.7
31 December 2005(1) 102,000 12,537 8.1
31 March 2007 92,600 12,294 7.5
31 March 2008 89,100 11,185 8.0
31 March 2009 80,100 10,066 8.0
31 December 2009 79,137 9,970 7.9
(1) Excludes Central Science Laboratory for which data is not available.

DEFRA and its Agencies closely monitor sickness absence in line with their sickness absence policies and by benchmarking sick absence rates against Cabinet Office figures for the civil service. Policies and good working practices are in place to reduce both long term and frequent short term sick absences. These include facilitating timely employee access to occupational health advice, medical or wellbeing interventions. Additionally, managers hold return-to-work interviews to discuss employees' reasons for absence, including any work-related issues connected with their absence. Where necessary, action plans will be agreed to improve employees' attendance at work.

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