Staff sickness absence falls by 33% at Basildon Council

A local authority has slashed its sick leave by one-third in little over a year with the introduction of manager training and an occupational health (OH) system.

Basildon Council in Essex has published figures showing that the average annual sickness absence had dropped to eight days per employee, from 12 days in January 2007.

Councillor Phil Turner said: “Sickness has dropped by 33% in the past 15 months, which equates to an extra 20 staff delivering services to residents.”

Staff were required to report to an OH service when they were sick, to allow for better monitoring of trends. Managers were also been given specialist training in dealing with sickness, including interviewing staff returning to work.

“This approach is helping to boost productivity, protect the health of our staff and ensure taxpayers’ money is being used efficiently,” said Turner.

A survey of more than 600 members of manufacturers’ body the EEF earlier this month found that the average amount of sick leave per employee per year was 6.8 days.

Meanwhile, employers welcomed the idea of using new lie detector technology to root out those employees falsely claiming to be ill to skive off work.

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