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Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of working days lost by his Department’s staff was attributed to stress-related conditions in the most recent year for which figures are available. (187867)

The following table shows the percentage of sickness absence for Ministry of Defence civilian personnel1 which was attributed to anxiety, depression and stress (Mental and Behavioural Disorders ICD10 category) in the calendar year 2007. The MOD does not have a specific sickness absence code for stress.

1 This includes all permanent and casual non-industrial and industrial civilian personnel, but excludes Trading Fund, Locally Engaged Civilian and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel.

Time period covered

Percentage1of total sickness absence days lost due to anxiety, depression and stress

1 January- 31 December 2007


1 The percentage of total staff has been rounded to the nearest decimal point.

Stress-related illness may have social or domestic causes and is not necessarily work-related. However, our policies are clear in terms of the recognition of such illnesses and the support we provide.

We advise our employees on how to avoid stress by explaining how stress can be recognised and managed. Line managers are actively encouraged to look for signs of stress in their staff and to take action to manage it. Specifically, we emphasise that individuals vary in their ability to cope with stress and explain that one person’s unbearable pressure may be another person’s positive challenge. On our web portal page we list the various physical and psychological symptoms to help line managers to identify early signs.

For those employees who do succumb to stress-related illness, the support of the Occupational Welfare Service is available.