Cumbria County Council examines above-average sick leave rate

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Town Hall employees in Cumbria take more than twice the number of days off in sick leave than the national average, a report has revealed.

The report found staff at Cumbria County Council had an average of 15 days off during the past year, compared to a UK average of six-and-a-half.

The council said changes to pay, redundancies, and reorganisations had all had an impact on morale.

Councillors will discussing the report at a meeting on Tuesday.

Jim Savege, corporate director of organisational development, said the first step was to understand why the figures were so high.

'Mixed picture'

"We have some early areas we have identified that are causing this but still got some work to do to explore more to actually find out all the reasons why this is happening."

"There's been a reduction in funding from the government. We've had a significant redundancy programme as well as reviewing pay arrangements.

"So there's been a lot for staff to deal and cope with and we've certainly seen an increase in some absence rates around the time some of these things were being implemented."

Referring to the possibility of cutting sick pay or disciplining staff who took time off, he added: "We've looked across other organisations that have done that and it's a mixed picture in terms of whether these things have had an effect or not."

"Some of the arrangements for sickness absences are national terms and conditions, not things we have agreed to locally, and we will certainly be interested to see whether changes are going to introduced."

Public sector unions said they were considering the report and would be giving a response later.

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