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Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many sick days were taken by employees in (a) his Department and its predecessor and (b) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility due to (i) stress and (ii) 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. (216094)

Since the formation of the Department to 31 March 2008, the number of sickness days taken by employees due to mental disorder is (a) 5,407 days. 2,386 days were due to (i) stress and (ii) 3,021 days for other mental health illnesses which can be broken down into depression (2,139 days), anxiety (614 days) and other mental illnesses (268 days).

This amounts to a proportion of 27 per cent. of all sickness absence days due to stress and other mental disorder. The Department has a number of mainly small non-departmental public bodies (b) for which information on absences due mental disorders is not held centrally and this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Department was set up as part of the machinery of government (MoG) changes on 28 June 2007, so the percentage is based on figures from 1 July to 31 March 2008 (the latest information available). It is not directly comparable to the previous Department for Education and Skills (DFES) as many staff moved to the new Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) as part of the MoG changes.

The Department is committed to providing a safe working environment and has put in place 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, a pilot Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress Questionnaire and Individual Stress Risk Assessments for employees who require them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many staff in (a) his Department and its predecessor and (b) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility have taken sick days due to (i) stress and (ii) 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. (216145)

Since the formation of the Department up to 31 March 2008, 72 staff were absent due to stress, representing 2.6 per cent. of all staff. 66 were absent due to other mental disorders, representing 2.4 per cent. of all staff at 31 March. These figures do not include non-departmental public bodies as the information for them is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Department was set up as part of the Machinery of Government (MoG) changes on 28 June 2007, so the figures apply from 1 July to 31 March 2008 (the latest information available).

The Department is committed to providing a safe working environment and has a range of measures in place to support managers and employees on health and wellbeing issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of staff in his Department have had more than two periods of sickness absence of less than five days in each of the last three years. (218726)

Since the Department was formed in the 28 June 2007 Machinery of Government changes, 293 staff have had more than two periods of sickness of less than five days. This applies from the date of establishment of the Department to 31 March 2008 (the latest information available). This equates to 9.5 per cent. of staff in that period.