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Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many working days were lost by his Department owing to stress-related illness in each of the last 24 months. (198945)

The percentage of working days lost owing to sickness absence in 1 July to 31 December was 15 per cent. of all working days. The recorded total of working days lost was 1,583 compared to 10,404 working days lost for all sickness absences, and 680 days were lost in the latest quarter (1 January to 31 March 2008). Sickness absence information is collected quarterly in my Department, but monthly information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Department has introduced a range of measures to support managers and employees on health and wellbeing issues, including the provision of professional counselling and support from the Department’s Employee Assistance Provider, Right Corecare. The Department has piloted a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress Questionnaire in one part of the organisation and conducted Individual Stress Risk Assessments for employees who require them. It will shortly be launching a comprehensive Stress Prevention Policy, based on HSE Management Standards.