ALMOST 4,000 working days have been lost at the Isle of Wight Council due to sickness absence in just three months.
Figures released by the authority reveal 3,833 working days were lost during the first quarter of the 2013/14 financial year, compared with 3,747 during the same period last year and 3,969 the year before that.
The figure for the amount of working days lost is calculated by taking into account the number of jobs each council employee does or their "employments". Many council employees have two or more roles.
It means working days lost do not relate to how many days each individual takes off sick per year.
Mental ill-health was by far the largest single reason given for sickness absence, accounting for more than a fifth of the lost days. Other reasons given included musculo-skeletal illness, back and neck problems, infections and operations.
The average number of sick days per council employee during the quarter was 1.79, against a target of 1.53, broadly the same as the previous two years. A total of 78.6 per cent of staff had no sick days.
The figures do not include sickness absence in respect of school staff, which will be collected separately and published at a later date.
A report to the employment committee on Monday stated: "There does not appear to be any identifiable trends to indicate absences are higher on a Monday and/or Friday than any other day within the working week."
Annual figures reveal the total number of sick days per employee during 2012/13 was 8.25, against a target of 7.5 and a public sector national average of 7.9 days. The annual target for 2013/14 is 7 days.
A review of the authority’s attendance management policy is being carried out with a view to introducing more robust triggers, to let managers know when action to address sickness absence should be taken.
From April, Industrial Diagnostics Company Ltd was contracted to provide occupational health services to employees, ranging from medical advice to counselling and debt management advice.