Skip to main content

Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility have taken sick days due to mental health and behavioural disorders in each of the last 10 years; what proportion of staff of each body this represented in each year; and if he will make a statement; (216090)

(2) what the average duration of single periods of sick leave taken by staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility who gave mental health and behavioural disorders as the reason for their absence was in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how many sick days were taken by employees in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility due to mental health and behavioural disorders in each of the last 10 years; what proportion of sick days taken this represented in each case; and if he will make a statement.

The Department reports absences listed for mental health and behavioural disorders against the standard ICD 10 Code—Mental and Behavioural Disorders (PSD).

Data for staff in the Ministry of Defence are listed in the following table.

Sick days recorded against ICD 10: Mental Health and Behavioural Disorders (PSD)

Personnel

Total working days lost

12 months ending

Number

Percentage

Average days duration

Number

Percentage

31 December 2005

3,920

5.0

22.1

134,670

18.3

31 December 2006

3,980

5.3

21.9

128,030

19.4

31 December 2007

3,830

5.4

22.5

124,950

19.9

31 March 2008

3,770

5.4

22.4

122,440

20.4

Notes:

1. Data exclude staff in Trading Funds, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and Locally Engaged Civilians for whom sickness absence data are not readily available.

2. Data presented reflect the current Cabinet Office definition, setting a maximum absence of 225 days per person in any one year, and exclude absence days that occurred on weekends, annual leave and bank holidays.

3. Totals have been rounded to the nearest 10, totals and sub totals have been rounded separately and so may not equal the sums of their rounded parts.

4. The percentage of working days lost is calculated as a percentage of the total working days lost due to sickness absence.

Information prior to calendar year 2005 is compiled on a previous definition for monitoring sickness absence which is not consistent with figures for calendar year 2005 onwards.

Data for the Ministry of Defence’s agencies and non-departmental bodies are not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mental health and behavioural disorders such as anxiety and depression are often stress-related and MOD classifies all such absences under the same code. MOD is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of its employees and has a number of procedures in place to reduce stress at work.

A stress management framework, based on the Health and Safety Executive’s management standards, is available to all employees and gives easy to use advice on the successful prevention, recognition and management of stress at work. Online health promotion material on stress avoidance techniques is also available.

It is also MOD policy to seek the early advice of occupational health professionals in cases of sick absence due to stress-related illnesses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the last five years. (218965)

The number of MOD civilian personnel who have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007, was 2,620 (rounded to the nearest 10).

Information prior to calendar year 2005 is compiled on a previous definition for monitoring sickness absence which is not consistent with figures for calendar year 2005 onwards.

MOD is totally committed to the effective management of sickness absence and consistently performs well in this area. This is achieved by a combination of methods including the setting and monitoring of absence reduction targets for business units and actively involving line managers in the process. Early referral of persistent absentees for occupational health advice is also encouraged as early referrals usually result in an earlier return to regular attendance.