Dungannon council staff spend 7yrs off sick13th June 2011 | By: brendan64 | 1 Comment »
Staff at Dungannon Council have spent more than seven years on sick leave in the past 12 months, new figures have revealed.
The council’s 252 employees were off sick for a total of 2,685 days between April last year and March 2011.
This is the equivalent of every member of the council’s work force taking more than ten days and 15 hours away on sick leave.
Neck and back problems, stress, infections, and fatigue were among the reasons given by workers for taking the time off.
A total of seven members of staff were off sick from work for more than three months – and one of these workers took sick leave for almost a full year.
Lobbying group the Taxpayers’ Alliance said councils in Northern Ireland needed to review their working practices where the level of staff absences was an issue.
The details were revealed in a freedom of information request submitted to Dungannon Council by Coalisland Post.
Information disclosed by 14 of the 26 local authorities in Northern Ireland suggests staff at Dungannon Council take an average number of days off sick in comparison with other councils.
Craigavon council’s employees spent the greatest number of days away from the office per person, each taking the equivalent of more than two weeks off sick.
Several local authorities, including Cookstown Council, did not respond to the initial information request.
A spokeswoman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said the huge variation in average days off sick between councils of similar sizes suggested some were tackling the problem of staff sickness better than others.
“Bureaucracy and bad management can de-motivate staff, making them less productive, but it can also sometimes cause a rise in sick days. Working practices must be reviewed to tackle this where it is a problem,” she said.
“One or two members on long term sick leave can push up council’s average sickness rate, and where possible employees who have ongoing illnesses should be supported and encouraged to return to work if they can.”
Number of days taken off work on sick leave by staff at councils in Northern Ireland between April 2010 and March 2011
(FTE: The number of full-time equivalent employees)
No. of staff
Total number of days off sick
Number of days off sick per staff member
2,790 (Apr–Dec ’10)