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Staff Absenteeism

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many working days were lost to his Department and its Executive agencies in each year since 1997 due to staff absenteeism, expressed as the average annual number of absent days per employee; and what the estimated total cost to the Department and its agencies of absenteeism was in each year. (76893)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The following tables show the rates of worker sickness absence for non-industrial and industrial civil servants, and the cost of that absence for non-industrials, in the Ministry of Defence since 1997.

Sickness absence rate1 working days per FTE

Sickness absence working days

Sickness absence cost (£ million)2

19973

8.4

573,000

38.59

19983

8.6

571,000

39.28

19994

8.1

538,700

37.23

20004

7.9

520,100

36.64

20015

6

6

6

20024

7.3

465,240

35.11

20034

7.6

480,980

37.99

20044

7.3

469,120

39.39

20053

7.4

475,170

Financial year

2005-063

7.3

464,270

1 Sickness absence rates are based on FTE working days lost. For example, if a part-time employee (working 50 per cent. full-time hours) is sick for seven calendar days, this is five working days lost and 2.5 FTE working days lost. 2 Sickness absence costs for 1997 to 2004 are based on a Cabinet Office defined average daily salary rate for civilian non-industrial staff multiplied by the number of sickness absence working days lost. Comparable salary rates are not available for 2005 or the financial year 2005-06. 3 Rates are from the Annual Report “Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service” which is published by the Cabinet Office. 4 Rates for 1999 to 2004 are from UK Defence Statistics 2005 table 2.36 and are for calendar years (1 January to 31 December). The rates shown have been formed using a standardisation technique which involves adjusting unreasonably long absence lengths and removing obviously incorrect records. 5 There is no sickness absence information for non-industrial Ministry of Defence staff available for 2001 for data quality reasons. 6 No reliable data available. Note: Excludes non-industrial Ministry of Defence staff in trading funds and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.

Sickness absence rate1 working days per FTE

Sickness absence working days

19972

313.7

337,100

19982

316.3

376,800

19994

12.9

320,900

20005

6

6

20014

14.8

304;900

20024

13.4

259,950

20034

12.5

209,870

20044

13.2

202,780

20054

11.9

176,840

Financial year

2005-064

11.6

170,740

1 Sickness absence rates are based on FTE working days lost. For example, is a part-time employee (working 50 per cent. full-time hours) is sick for seven calendar days, this is five working days lost and 2.5 FTE working days lost. 2 Sickness absence records for industrial staff are not as robust as for non-industrial staff and the early years are marked as provisional. 3 Provisional. 4 Rates for 1999 to 2004 are from UK Defence Statistics 2005 table 2.36 and are for calendar years (1 January to 31 December). Rates for calendar year 2005 and the financial year (1 April-31 March) for 2005-06 are calculated on a consistent basis and will appear in UK Defence Statistics 2006. The rates shown have been formed using a standardisation technique which involves adjusting unreasonably long absence lengths and removing obviously incorrect records. 5 There is no sickness absence information for industrial Ministry of Defence staff available for 2000 for data quality reasons. 6 No reliable data available. Notes: 1. Excludes industrial Ministry of Defence staff in trading funds and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries. 2. Consistent salary rate information for industrial staff are not available on a compile basis to non-industrial staff above to allow the calculation of the cost of their sickness absence.