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Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. (187873)

In the year ending on 31 December 2007, 7.7 per cent. of the working days lost by DEFRA staff were recorded as being due to stress.

The current sickness absence management policy with supporting procedural documentation is also being redeveloped to ensure that it supports employee attendance at work as effectively as possible. A StressWeb is available for employee information through the health and safety intranet based website. It includes a stress policy and it is planned to update this document during 2008. DEFRA is currently in the process of revising its policies for managing attendance.

In addition, there is a wide range of support available to staff both via the Intranet and through the outsourced Occupational Health and Employee Support Service which provides a range of support services including telephone and face to face counselling.