Posted: Tue 10th Oct 2023

Staff Sickness Absence Levels in Blaenau Gwent Improving but Still Worst in Wales, Report Shows

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 10th, 2023

STAFF sickness absence levels in Blaenau Gwent are falling but are still the worst amongst Wales’s 22 local authorities, councillors will be told.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Overview and Performance scrutiny committee councillors will receive a report on the staff’s sickness absence performance during 2022/2023.
The data shows that 15.45 days were lost to sickness per full time equivalent employee (FTE) which compares to 16.74 days in the previous year.
This also means that the council has missed its 10-day target.
The report said that this equates to having 132 full time employees absent for a whole year.
Taking Covid-19 out of the equation the figures for Blaenau Gwent drop to the equivalent of 13.71 days per employee which sees a slight reduction from 14.2 in 2021/2022.
Head of organisational; development, Andrea Prosser said:  “During 2022/2023 there was an improving picture with sickness levels reducing by 1.29 days per employee when compared to the previous year, however sickness remains high.
“Based on the comparative data available the council had the highest level of sickness across Welsh local government.”
The next worst local authority reported sickness absence levels of 13.96 days per employee.
Ms Prosser said: “Whilst sickness levels remain high it is important to recognise the commitment of staff with a significant proportion of the workforce having little or no sickness absence.”
According to the report the top five reasons for sickness account for over 75 per cent of all absences.
Mental health is the most frequent cause of absence across the council accounting for 30.94 per cent of days lost, this covers stress, anxiety, and
depression.
Injuries and musculoskeletal problems which cover joint, ligament muscles, nerves and tendons which include limbs, back and neck and back issues account for 21.1 per cent of absences.
Covid-19 continued to have an impact during 2022/23 accounting for 11.21 per cent of days lost.
Stomach or Gastro-intestinal problems account for 6.93 per cent of absences and “infectious” diseases 5.72 per cent.
The pandemic is also having a knock on effect on staff absences as NHS treatment times are leading to “prolonged periods of sickness absence” due to staff waiting longer to be treated for ailments.
The report adds that the council has in place a range of wellbeing support for staff and strategies to manage attendance in the workplace and minimise the impact of sickness absence.
The scrutiny committee will be asked to either endorse the report and the work taking place to address the issues or advise on where the council can make improvements.
The committee’s comments will then be added to the report which is due to be discussed by the Cabinet in November. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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