Sick Leave

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 26th February 2013.

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Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Conservative, Nuneaton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(1) how many days of paid sickness leave per individual member of staff are authorised in his Department on an annual basis;

(2) what steps he is taking to reduce sickness absence in his Department.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There is no specific number of authorised days that employees are allowed to take as paid sickness leave per annum. In 2012, the average number of working days lost due to sickness (per staff year) in core DEFRA was 4.1. This has reduced from 6.1 in 2009.

Steps taken to reduce sickness absence in DEFRA include:

managing sickness absence in line with DEFRA's Managing Attendance policy, including encouraging employees on long term sickness absence to keep in touch and have discussions with managers access to occupational health advice to facilitate rehabilitation and return to work including phased returns and recuperative duties where necessary development of a Wellbeing Framework, health promotions and encouraging healthy lifestyle and behaviours (e.g. cycle to work scheme, free health checks, building resilience etc) offering assistance through the Employee Assistance Programme, which offers confidential, independent and unbiased advice from trained practitioners, counsellors etc.

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