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Departmental Sick Leave

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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 (i) stress and (ii) 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. (216112)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to protecting the health, welfare and productivity of its staff. Our occupational stress policy provides guidance for staff and managers on recognising and dealing with stress and on reducing the causes of stress in the workplace. We provide further support through a team of welfare officers, referral to our occupational health service and access to a 24/7 confidential Employee Assistance programme.

The average duration for single periods of sickness absence for UK civil servants employed by the FCO and by Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the FCO, where stress or mental health illness has been given as the reason for the absence is set out in the following table.

Number of days

Financial year

FCO

Wilton Park

2005-06

18.2

12.3

2006-07

18.6

29.6

2007-08

26.4

62.5

The FCO does not hold records of staff sickness absence before 2005. Nor does it have access to the sickness absence records of non-departmental public bodies. Sickness absence figures for FCO Services, which became a Trading Fund on 1 April 2008, are included in the FCO total.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was 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 was in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (216113)

The average duration for single periods of sickness absence taken by UK civil servants employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the FCO, is set out in the following table.

Number of days

Financial year

FCO

Wilton Park

2005-06

4.2

15.5

2006-07

3.3

15.6

2007-08

3.8

15.0

The FCO does not hold records of staff sickness absences before 2005. Nor does it have access to the sickness absence records of non-departmental public bodies. Sickness absence figures for FCO Services, which became a Trading Fund on 1 April 2008, are included in the FCO total.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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 (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. (216114)

The following table sets out the number of UK civil servants employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the FCO, who gave stress and mental illness as reasons for sickness absence and the percentage they represent of the total workforce.

Financial year

FCO

Wilton Park

2005-06

Number of staff

137

6

Percentage of workforce

2.3

8.1

2006-07

Number of staff

128

10

Percentage of workforce

2.1

13.5

2007-08

Number of staff

119

10

Percentage of workforce

2.0

13.5

FCO sickness absence records do not distinguish clearly between mental health and stress-related absences. The FCO does not hold records of staff sickness absence before 2005. Nor does it have access to the sickness absence records of non-departmental public bodies.