EDDC staff; more sick days than any Devon council

SICKNOTE staff at East District Council have taken on average more days off than any other local authority in Devon costing the tax payer an estimated �0.5 million.

SICKNOTE staff at East District Council have taken on average more days off than any other local authority in Devon costing the tax payer an estimated �0.5 million.

East Devon officers in 2008/2009 took an average 12.82 days off sick, an increase of 10.95 from the previous year - and as a result next month councillors will consider a report on the figures.

The study of council 'sickies' conducted by the Benenden Healthcare Society, which provides healthcare to council workers, and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

The research showed that in Devon workers in Mid Devon District Council took off an average 10.2 days a year, North Devon 9.75 days, Exeter 9.15 days, South Hams 9.3 days and Torbay 8.85 days.


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Devon County Council, the largest authority recorded an average 8.64 days, Torridge 8 days, Plymouth 7.06 days, Teignbridge 6.33 days and West Devon Borough Council 6.25 days.

And according to a Freedom of Information request by the BBC, the days taken off by East Devon officers equates to a cost of �527,000 to the taxpayer.

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The sick day of EDDC is double private sector national average, which according to the Chartered Institute of Personal Development is 6.4 days.

David Shephard, the Devon policy chairman from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "If small businesses faced similar levels of sick days many could not trade or cope financially.

"It's a culture which cannot be tolerated. We're all under pressure...if councils are seeking increases in council tax and spending it on sick days, it's going to be hard to win over the population."

A spokesman for EDDC said: "Out of 467 employees, 204 took no sick leave during this year 2008/2009.

"The high absences were created by an increase in medium and long-term absence.

"We have rewritten the council's absence policy and doubled our training efforts to ensure managers are managing absences appropriately."

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