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MoD sickness costs 584,000 days

Thursday October 28th 2010

Working days equivalent to more than 1,600 years were lost to sickness absence last year by the Ministry of Defence staff, new figures have shown.

The latest data found that the MoD lost a total of 584,726 working days between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 as staff took sick leave.

Of the total figure, 284,369 were categorised as short-term illnesses while 300,357 fell into the long-term category - defined as being away from work for at least 28 consecutive days.

The total number is enough for each of the MoD's 85,000 civilian employees to have been off work for nearly seven days in the year.

However, the latest figure is considerably lower than the 693,331 working days lost between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007.

Findings revealed that the total dropped to as low as 581,682 between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, but has been on the rise again.

In a written parliamentary reply to Conservative Party backbencher Priti Patel (Witham), defence welfare minister Andrew Robathan said: "The Ministry of Defence is committed to reducing sickness absence, and occupational health advice and support is available to all employees and their line managers.

"Guidance and training is available to line managers on managing absence; we actively encourage the use of return-to-work interviews and have trigger points in place for the commencement of management action.

"We are currently reviewing all our absence policies."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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