Local government given new absenteeism targets

HR
departments in local government have been given new guidelines to help improve
the management of sickness absence.

The
Employers Organisation for Local Government (EO) issued the guidelines after
central Government challenged all councils to reduce absence rates to the level
achieved by the best 25 per cent in 2000.

Currently
the median rate for sickness is 9.6 days, but the Government has demanded an improvement within five
years. The sickness targets vary by authority type, ranging from 6.8 days to
10.9 days, but as yet no penalties have been fixed for authorities failing to
meet the improvements.

In
response to the measures,
the research and intelligence division of EO has produced a classification of
causes system, identifying 12 categories responsible for sickness absence.

Charles
Nolda, executive director of EO,
explained how it could help HR manage sickness more effectively. "Local authorities will find this
a useful tool. It’s important to base action to address sickness absence on
solid statistical evidence: prior to this classification, it has been difficult to get
meaningful statistics because they tend to be based on guestimates," he
said.

The
classification may also help investigate patterns arising from working
conditions, such as
back problems or stress,
and the EO plans to use the guidelines to collect data and provide national
benchmarks.

www.lg-employers.gov.uk/research/sickness.htm

By Ross Wigham

 

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