Sick Leave

Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 27 April 2011.

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Photo of Pamela Nash Pamela Nash Labour, Airdrie and Shotts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what targets he has set for the reduction of rates of sickness and unauthorised absence in his Department and the public bodies for which it is responsible.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions has a target to reduce sickness absence to 7.7 days per employee per year, or lower, by 31 March 2012. We have consistently reduced sickness absence from a level of 11.1 days per employee per year in 2007 to 8.1 days per employee per year currently, and will strive for further improvement.

We aim to meet the target through an ongoing programme to help employees maintain good health, such as providing stress counselling, and by appropriate use of occupational health services to rehabilitate staff that do take sick leave. If, following the provision of all reasonable help, an employee is unable to maintain a satisfactory attendance record, we will take administrative action. Where necessary, this will include dismissal or retirement.

We have not set a target for other types of unauthorised leave because the vast majority of unauthorised leave, when it occurs, relates to strike action. The Department's aspiration is to avoid strikes.

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