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Sickness Absence

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average number of sick days was in his Department for (a) civilian and (b) military staff in each year since 1997; what percentage of staff were on long term sick leave in each year; and if he will make a statement. [116865]

The average number of sick days in the Ministry of Defence for civilian staff are as follows:

Number of days
The percentage of civilian staff on long term sick leave in the Ministry of Defence are as follows:

Percentage of civilian staff
Figures are for non-industrial staff and include staff on unpaid sick leave. Industrial staff, Trading Funds and RFAs are not included.Sick absence data for all Government Departments, which includes information about the average number of days lost to sickness absence, are published in an annual Cabinet Office report "Analysis of Sick Absence in the Civil Service". Copies of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 reports are available in the Library. However, the 2001 report excludes data for the Ministry of Defence, pending the introduction of a new and more accurate statistical reporting system. The 2002 report, which will include MOD data, will be placed in the Library of the House on publication.The report does not contain information about long term sick absence, the figures therefore are based on internal figures. Long term sickness is defined as staff who have been on sick leave for a spell of 30 calendar days or more in a calendar year. Due to data inaccuracies the figures for 1997, 1998 and 2001 are not available.A programme of measures is being implemented to help meet the target in MOD's Service Delivery Agreement to reduce sickness absence to 7.0 days by the end of 2003 (target adjusted following the reorganisation of Government Departments in 2000). This includes a regular audit of long-term sick cases. MOD is committed to improving the health of its staff and managing sick absence more effectively.Records are not held centrally of the number of sick days taken annually by military personnel or the percentage on long term sick leave. This information could be compiled only from records held locally by units, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.