Rise in staff sickness levels at East Northants Council

East Northants Council offices in Thrapston
East Northants Council offices in Thrapston

Staff sickness levels at East Northamptonshire Council have risen significantly over the past two years with the authority saying the increase is partly due to employees suffering from depression and stress.

The authority lost 1,835 days due to sickness from April 2017 to March this year which is the equivalent of having eight full-time members of staff absent for the whole year.

For each full-time employee 10.65 sick days were had which is above the national average for the sector.

Speaking at a meeting of the finance and performance sub-committee at ENC last night (Monday), corporate support manager Angela Hook said the number of staff sickness levels had ‘increased significantly over the last two years’.

She said: “We have had situations of long-term sickness that have altered the figures. 

“We have had some absences due to anxiety, depression and stress as well as long-term physical conditions, such as cancer.”

A report prepared for councillors said that until 2016 the council had low sickness levels but that in the past 24 months the figures had been on the rise.

The report said: “We continue to manage both the physical and mental health of our staff as best we can, and at the current elevated level our sickness is between the sector average and the upper quartile still lower than many of our East Midlands comparators.”

In 2014/15 the sickness level at ENC was 5.84 days per employee, this rose to 8.8 in 2015/16 and to 9.19 in 2016/17.

The same meeting also heard that the staff turnover of staff was 9.75 per cent.

In total 20 staff left the authority between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018.