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Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 476: debated on Monday 19 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many working days were lost by his Department due to stress-related illness in each of the last 24 months. (198937)

The Department does not record sickness absence due to stress, but uses a broader category of “mental health, including depression, anxiety and potential stress-related problems”. We do not monitor working days lost by reason each month, but produce information on a rolling year basis. The total number of working days lost for this reason in the calendar year 2007 was 2,097.

The Department has recently improved its internal reporting of sickness absence by reason by drawing information direct from its payroll system. This was in response to concerns that some absences on its human resources system were not being closed properly, leading to absence levels being overestimated. The 2006 figure of 4,305 working days lost is therefore an overestimate and not directly comparable with 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many days sick leave were taken on average by staff in his Department in each of the last five years. (198948)

Until recently the Cabinet Office produced annual reports of sickness absence across the civil service. Recent figures taken from these on average working days lost (AWDL) due to sickness per member of staff in the Department are:

Coverage

AWDL

2006-07

Financial year

Core Department only

6.5

2005

Calendar year

Core Department only

7.0

2004

Calendar year

Department and its agencies

3.8

2003

Calendar year

Department and its agencies

5.4

2002

Calendar year

Department and its agencies

4.7

The change in the figures from calendar years to financial year between 2005 and 2006-07 reflects a change in the annual period covered by the reports. The change from the Department and its agencies to the Core Department only between 2004 and 2005 reflects a change in the level of aggregation of information in the reports.