Sickness rates at Herts County Council highest in 12 years at staggering cost of £8.2m

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According to the latest available data, county council employees are taking an average of 8.1 days sick leave

Sickness rates amongst county council staff in Hertfordshire are higher than at any time since 2011 – costing the council an estimated £8.2m a year.

According to the latest available data, council employees are taking an average of 8.1 days sick leave – with stress, depression, anxiety and mental health ranking as the most common reason for absence.

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And in some departments – such as adult care services – the average annual absence rate is as high as 12.1 days.

Herts County HallHerts County Hall
Herts County Hall

The data – which focuses on the 12-month period to November 2022 – was presented to a meeting of the council’s resources and performance cabinet panel on Wednesday (March 29).

And at that meeting councillors heard that the cost of sickness absence in the 12 months to November 2022 was £8.2 million. That’s equivalent to £122 for each day’s absence.

But that figure – based on sick pay and associated costs – does not include temporary staffing costs to cover an absence or costs associated with turnover or recruitment.

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Covid, it was reported, accounted for 8,329 days of absence during the 12-month period – equivalent to one in every eight days taken.

And it was suggested that changes to sick pay entitlement – with staff now paid from their first day of absence – appear to have had a ‘small impact’ on levels of absence, particularly in relation to short term absence.

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