Devon

Devon council staff take three weeks of sick leave

Employees at a Devon council are taking up to three weeks of sick leave a year, figures show.

The sickness levels at North Devon Council have been described as "stubbornly above" those at other local authorities, by council managers.

Staff in the recycling and bins, and property and technical areas take an average of 16 days.

Managers are looking at offering flu jabs and more flexible working opportunities.

'Not acceptable'

The figures are slightly down on the previous year, where recycling and bins staff took an average of 19 days off.

Across the whole council, an average of 10.2 days of sick leave are taken annually.

At neighbouring Torridge District Council the average annual sick leave taken is 6.4 days, and South Hams District Council has an average of 11.59 days of sickness.

The average amount of days taken in the private sector is 5.8.

Eleanor McGrath, from the Tax Payers' Alliance described the cost as "significant".

"There will be times when people need to take sick days but it does need to be looked into," she said.

Brian Greenslade, the leader of North Devon Council, said: "It's not acceptable. We have been working hard to try and bring this figure down.

"If people do need to be off because of sickness and stress levels, as a good employer we have to recognise that and act accordingly."

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