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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Sickness costs council 300,000
Shepway District Council
Staff are being offered stress management courses
High sickness levels are costing a district council more than 300,000 per year, the deputy leader has revealed.

Figures were submitted to Shepway councillors in Kent, ahead of a meeting on Monday.

Councillor David Monk said council workers took an average 12.1 sick days per year per person, compared with a national average of 6.8.

Measures to tackle the problem have included new management policies,stress management courses and workshops.

Mr Monk said: "It's an unacceptably high level."

'High stress levels'

He said workers in revenue and benefits suffered from "very high stress levels" which were being tackled with workshops that looked at how to handle and avoid stress.

ACTION TAKEN AT THE COUNCIL
Long-term ill-health cases resolved
New absence management policy introduced
Workshops on line managers' responsibilities
Leaflets on absence policy issued to all staff
Counselling to cut stress-related absence

The council is also introducing a new customer contact centre which will help stop repeat calls and prevent customer frustration, he added.

And he said the council had developed an Employee Assistance Package which offered 24/7 access to counselling.

"We have also resolved several long-term sickness cases which of course pushed the average up," Mr Monk said.

But he added: "Probably it is costing us overall about 300,000 a year."




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