The HR & Payroll Manager presented the Sickness Absence report for Quarter 3 (October – December 2022) and highlighted that the average number of days lost per employee was 2.27 days and the average number of days lost per employee, if COVID related symptoms were discounted was 1.89 days. The 2022/23 forecast figure for the average number of days lost per employee was 8.76 days. The annual target for the Local Performance Indicator to the end of March 2023 was 8.5 days.
It was noted that the top three service areas proportionately experiencing the highest levels of sickness were:-
The key trends for sickness absence were highlighted as follows:-
The HR & Payroll Manager reported that the North East Derbyshire District Council Payroll function would be returning to North East Derbyshire District Council in March 2023 and that from 1st April the Council will just have its own HR and Payroll function. Discussions were ongoing regarding the reporting of sickness absence for ICT and Environmental Health.
A Union representative welcomed the counselling arrangements being offered to staff experiencing mental health problems and queried whether a survey had been undertaken regarding the effectiveness of the programmes that were being offered. The HR Business Partner advised that he was not aware of any surveys being undertaken, but generally the support had been well received.
A Member asked that a survey be considered further as it would be useful to see if the support provided was being well received. It was also suggested that other local authorities be contacted to see what was offered to their employees who were experiencing mental health problems.
The HR Business Partner commented that Stress/Depression was a consistent feature in the sickness absence statistics as in most organisations and that cases were being managed based on their circumstances. A number of developments had been introduced to try and assist employees, e.g. mental health awareness sessions and health and wellbeing bulletins.
A Union representative referred to Covid19 sickness absence and queried whether updated guidance had been circulated to staff as referred to in the Minutes of the last meeting (SAF13-22/23 refers). The HR Business Partner advised that no further guidance had been issued to staff at that time, due to the ever changing Government guidance. A Member asked that consideration be given to updating staff on the Council’s requirements in relation to Covid19.
A Member queried the arrangements for staff absence due to Covid19. The HR Business Partner stated that a record was still being kept of Covid19 related staff absence and employees had been asked to work from home or report in as sick if they were unwell. A Union representative referred to Covid19 and requested that updated guidance be reissued to employees for information.
A Member queried whether a loan scheme was available for staff to purchase bicycles. The HR Business Partner advised that a scheme was already in place and employees were able to apply under the Council’s Cycle to Work Scheme to purchase a bicycle from a local retailer up to the value of £2,000. This scheme had proved to be of real benefit to those employees who had utilised the initiative.
The HR Business Partner mentioned that discussions would take place with North East Derbyshire District Council regarding the future reporting of sickness absence information in relation to IT and Environmental Health.
Moved by Chris McKinney and seconded by Councillor Andrew Joesbury
RESOLVED that (1) the report be noted,
(2) Covid19 guidelines be reissued to staff for information, and
(3) other local authorities be contacted for details of mental health support offered to employees.
(HR and Payroll Manager/HR Business Partner)