DWP fired hundreds of staff for not turning up to work

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) dismissed 672 people last year for unsatisfactory attendance, a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request has revealed.

Average sick days per department

Average number of sick days per staff member
Ministry of Justice8.9
Ministry of Defence8.0
Department for Work and Pensions7.4
Department for Communities and Local Government6.5
Department for Culture, Media and Sport5.0
Department for International Development 4.7
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs4.5
Department of Energy and Climate Change4.1

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


According to figures from the department, it has a workforce of almost 100,000 people, meaning that those fired for unauthorised absence accounted for around 0.67% of staff.

A spokesman from the DWP said there are obvious attendance rules for staff, adding: “Clearly there are people on long-term sick leave and people who are not able to regularly attend work for whatever reason. But [for others], there are set standards we would expect them to meet.”

The data, obtained via an FOI request by video conferencing firm Lifesize, also found that the average number of sick days per DWP employee last year was 7.4.

According to XpertHR research, the average rate for the public sector in 2011 was 6.9 days.

Lifesize also requested information on absence rates from eight other government departments. Of these, the highest sickness rate was in the Ministry of Justice, where staff took an average 8.9 days off ill, and the lowest was in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with 3.57 days lost per employee.

XpertHR FAQs on unauthorised absence

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