Percentage of SIC staff off sick remains high

The number of council staff taking sick leave has remained high despite efforts to tackle the problem.

Last year an average of 12.2 sick days was recorded for each member of staff excluding teachers, who achieve nearly half that rate of absence at 6.2 days each.

Councillor Allison Duncan told the audit and standards committee on Tuesday he had “serious concerns” about the absence rate and he sought reassurance that absentees were being quizzed by their bosses once they returned.

Yes they were, according to official Jim McLeod. But he agreed that lessons could be learnt from other local authorities to help reduce the absence rate.

The average among Scottish local authorities last year was 11.6 days while the SIC sickness absence rate has come down by 1.1 days from 13.3 days since 2008/09.

Chief executive Alistair Buchan told the committee he expected to see another improvement coming through in the 2011/12 statistics.

Mr Duncan asked for a report with a breakdown of the figures to show if Mondays were the worst day for sickies – as happens in some Scottish local authorities – and whether there are seasonal variations.


Add Your Comment
  • douglas young

    • September 28th, 2011 21:59

    Shocking waste of money, but managers are not clamping down on it; you only have to see streams of employees coming into Lerwick after 9am to know timekeeping is also lax. If the FIRST three days of sick leave were unpaid, the days off would drop like a stone.
    And what about car parks outside council offices emptying on a fine afternoon before 5pm?
    Self-employed people are hardly ever sick.

  • James Stewart

    • September 28th, 2011 23:53

    Seems surprisingly high. I wonder how it compares up to the average sick day taken by someone in private employment?

  • David Lister

    • September 29th, 2011 15:17

    I love the fact the it immediately assumed by Mr Duncan that these are “sickies”. Surely the absence figures (from which nothing can be assumed or extrapolated), as with all local authorities varies across the wide range of services that are provided. Look at for national number averaging at about 7.4 per person – but varying massively across the different sectors.
    It is also a concern that finger pointing end up being the knee jerk reaction, and the idea of punishing staff, and introducing unnecessary measures – this is the kind of behaviour that drives up absenteeism. With every job at risk, and the constant threat that your whole life can be turned upside down with the loss of your job – are these numbers really any wonder! Introducing measures to help improve the health of employees is key (this applies across all sectors across the whole country). Positive measures such as flexible working do help (D Young – this is for you) so that on a nice day, people can work flexibly, and take time out.


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