Along with the rest of the country, Is Waverley staff joining ‘Sick Note Britain’?
Here’s a note from the Human Resources Manager Jon Formby.
The Overview & Scrutiny Committee members heard that many staff members now suffer from stress-related illnesses. However, only half responded to the Health & Wellbeing Survey. So, perhaps half of Waverley’s staff are either too busy to respond or are bouncing with health.
The Officers Report.
Mental health remains the highest reason for sickness absence from work, with just over 50% of these absences relating to a small number of long-term absences. The category’ Mental Health’ includes the following absence reasons: anxiety; stress; depression; bipolar; panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A large number of gastrointestinal absences and those caused by cough/cold/flu in 22/23 could be explained by increased contact between people after returning to the office and increased social interactions. COVID continues to constitute the majority of absences from work due to Medical Infection, with just under 322 working days lost in 22/23.
Nationally, surveys report that there has been an increase in sickness absence in 2022 which could indicate an increase in general illnesses (potentially due to lower immunity), stress, exhaustion or other problems within the workplace, or it could also reflect the fact that there is less stigma about taking a day off sick since the pandemic.
According to a survey by Xperthr, 50% of organisations reported an increase in sickness absence rates in 2022, describing both an increase in short-term absences and long and short-term absences due to mental health. Of the 172 organisations surveyed, 19 were in the public sector and had a median number of days of sickness absence per employee of 8.7 days.
The ONS Labour Force survey reported increased days lost per worker from 4.2 in 2019 to 5.7 in 2022 across all organisations and 5.7 in 2019 to 7.1 in 2022 in local government. According to Infinistats, in 2021/22, the average days lost per employee across local authorities within the South East (though only 7 LA’s responded, including Waverley) was 8.19.