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Departmental Absenteeism

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff of his Department were recorded absent for non-medical reasons on (a) 2 February 2009 and (b) 3 February 2009; what estimate he has made of the (i) cost to his Department and (ii) number of working hours lost as a result of such absence; and what guidance his Department issued to staff in respect of absence on those days. (260574)

The number of staff absent due to non-medical reasons is not held centrally. This is because it includes annual leave, flexi leave and special leave. Therefore, to provide the data for 2 and 3 February in respect of our total staffing of over 100,000 would incur disproportionate cost.

In addition to the policies governing absence and leave, specific HR advice was issued to cover absences on 2 and 3 February due to the adverse weather. Where employees attempted to come into work but were unable to do so because of the adverse weather and travel disruption, they were credited with the hours normally worked on these days. Overall the Department is grateful to the very many of its staff who made considerable efforts to get into work on the days in question.