The Human Resources Advisor presented the Annual Report on Employee Sickness Absence which covered the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. She informed the Committee that the recommendation was that the report be noted and that the target of 7.50 days for sickness absence for 2019/20 be approved.
Human Resources Advisor responded to questions raised by Members and clarified that for the 2018/19 period there had been a 20.8% increase in working days lost. This was attributable to an increase in the average duration of long term sickness absence cases, whilst the number of incidences remained the same as the previous year. She went on to outline the Health Care Cash Plan, which was available to all employees, and highlighted the level of pro-active support available through the Employee Assistance Programme. She informed Members that the report identified the main reasons for sickness absence as musculoskeletal disorders and stress, depression, anxiety and fatigue. Analysis of the data had confirmed that vast majority of absences had been non-work related however, this did not change the Council’s support provided for employees.
The Human Resources Advisor reported that there had been an increase in cardiovascular related absences, which equated to 330 days compared to 97 days in 2017/18. Members considered cardiovascular health interventions and agreed that the installation of a blood pressure monitor may encourage employees to check regularly their blood pressure.
The Human Resources Advisor informed Members that the Council promoted positive health and wellbeing at work through the Health Advocate programme and the Health and Wellbeing week, during which Officers had access to a full health analysis, which included a range of health checks.
In response to a further question, the Human Resources Advisor explained that the organisation’s sickness absence target was currently 6.5 days per FTE however, the report proposed to increase this figure to 7.5 days per FTE for 2019/20 which would create a more realistic and achievable target.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the Annual Report on Employee Sickness Absence be noted; and
(2) the sickness absence target for 2019/20 of 7.50 days be approved.