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policy committee – 16th july 2008

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					AGENDA ITEM 6
Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 24th June 2009 SICKNESS ABSENCE – 2008/09

Report of the Head of Human Resources Ward(s) affected: 1. All

Purpose of Report – To report the Council’s staff sickness absence statistics for the 2008/09 financial year. Recommendations – Members are recommended to note the staff sickness absence statistics for 2008/09 and also be aware of the initiatives that are in place to work towards reducing levels of staff sickness absence within the Council. Sickness Absence – 2008/09 In 2008/09 the Best Value Performance Indicator 12 (BVPI 12) target for sickness absence was 11.5 days. The actual sickness days lost during 2008/09 was 9.08 days. In comparison to previous years, sickness absence during 2008/09 was at its lowest level over a four year period as the figures below indicate:Year 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 Actual Days Lost 10.35 11.95 12.52 9.08 Target 9.30 9.10 10.12 11.50

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3. 3.1

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A total of 2390.9 days were lost due to sickness absence which equates to a rate of 3.98% of the total working days. The Appendix attached to this report sets out the sickness data during 2008/09 for each service unit within the Council. Sickness absence is regularly monitored and analysed to establish specific trends of absence. Overall sickness absence within the Council during the twelve months to March 2009 decreased by over 750 days when compared to the previous twelve months to March 2008. The main significant reductions of sickness absence have been within Leisure and Community Facilities (over 420 days), the Council’s Management Team (including PA’s) (over 125 days) and Waste Management (90 days). Absence continues to be monitored within two categories consisting of long term and short term sickness absence.

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AGENDA ITEM 6
3.7 Absences longer than six calendar weeks are considered long term. During 2008/09 a total of 1396.4 days were lost due to long term sickness absence. These days were accumulated as a result of 24 employees being absent over the twelve month period. The main reason for long term absence during 2008/09 was due to ‘other musculo-skeletal problems’. However, a number of staff were also absent due to ‘stress, depression, anxiety and related problems’. When compared to the previous twelve months, long term sickness absence during 2008/09 reduced by over 575 days. The highest number of days lost to long term absence was in Waste Management (540 of the 1396.4 days) with the main reason for these being back, neck and other musculo-skeletal problems. An additional 394.8 days were lost to long term absence in Customer and Benefit Services, with almost 75% of this relating to one individual who has now returned to work. In terms of short term sickness absence, a total of 994.5 days were lost. Members are asked to note that there has been an improvement in short term sickness absence compared to the previous financial years. Overall there has been a reduction of 173.2 short term days sickness absence. Main reason for short term sickness absence during 2008/09 was due to infections. The highest absence rate due to short term absence was again in Waste Management, with infections being the main cause, although a very similar number of days were also lost to back and neck problems and other musculo-skeletal problems. The lowest short term absence rates were in Strategic Housing and Human Resources, who lost 0.35% and 0.37% of working days to short term absence. During 2008/09 a total of 118 members of staff had no sickness absence. Arrangements are currently being made to write to those staff commending them for there excellent attendance over the 12 month period. Staff who have continued to have no sickness absence over a period of up to 5 years will also receive a letter of recognition. Members were notified in September 2008 with regards to the application of the Council’s policy for managing and monitoring sickness. Over the previous 12/18 months line managers have received hands on support from HR with the application of this policy to monitor sickness absence. Investigations confirm that the application of this policy has had a major impact upon the reduction of sickness absence overall within the Council. Monitoring of sickness absence is a line manager’s responsibility along with all day to day management responsibilities. HR has held briefing sessions to update the knowledge and understanding of the line managers with regards to the Managing Sickness Absence policy and provided hands on support during the application of the policy and its procedures. HR will continue to analyse and monitor sickness absence and provide line managers with all relevant information relating to an employee’s attendance at work. However, in the future, it is intended to allow managers to undertake formal monitoring meetings with staff with limited direct hands on support. The application of the policy will be closely monitored by HR to ensure the procedures are being applied as required.

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AGENDA ITEM 6
4. 4.1 Initiatives that have supported the reduction in sickness absence Over a two year period the following initiatives were introduced and continue to be available to staff to combat high levels of sickness absence:Sickness monitoring initally piloted within Waste Management during 2007 Early intervention of possible cases of long term sickness absence Hands on HR support for managers to manage sickness absence Regular reports to managers with regards to staff absence levels Quarterly sickness absence reports to Corporate Management Team Sickness monitoring rolled out to Leisure and Community Facilities during 2008 with a view to extending to all service units. Increase level of HR support to all service areas to manage sickness absence more closely Introduction of an Employee Well Being steering group which meets regularly to review employee well-being within the Council Introduced a number of well being initiatives on a monthly basis for all staff during 2007. Monthly activities continued to be identified and provided for all staff. Subsidised Gym membership available to all staff Raised awareness of sickness absence via briefings to staff and managers Briefed and trained all line managers on how to effectively manage sickness absence Recognition letters to staff with no sickness absence over a period of over 12 months or up to 5 years. Introduction of a Well Being pamphlet which encapsulates all our current embedded initiatives and activities and details of proposed initiatives for the future.

Each of the above initiatives have contributed towards the significant reduction of sickness absence within the Council. 4.2 Future initiatives planned to manage sickness absence include:Continuously reviewing and updating Sickness Absence Policy Exploring the option of introducing a Social Club for staff to participate in joint social activities Providing staff with regular information and access to initiatives which will benefit their general well-being To continuously review, update and revise HR policies as applicable Introduction of new HR policies which may support the management of sickness absence (ie Drugs and Alcohol Misuse policy)

4.3

The reduction in sickness absence clearly demonstrates that initiatives put into place during the previous two years, have had a positive impact on reducing sickness absence. It is therefore anticipated that with the continuous improvements planned to support staff with there attendance at work and general well-being, sickness absence within the Council will continue to reduce ultimately resulting in the Council continuing to employ staff who are happy, healthy and at work providing high quality services to the residents of Craven.
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AGENDA ITEM 6
5. 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 6. 7. 8. Implications Financial Implications – None Legal Implications – None. Contribution to Corporate Priorities –Transforming the Council. Risk Management – N/A Consultations with Others – N/A. Access to Information : Background Documents – None. Author of the Report – Samia Hussain, Head of Human Resources – 01756 706207 – shussain@cravendc.gov.uk Appendix – Cumulative Sickness Data – 2008/09

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