Council staff off with stress

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

Almost a quarter of absence at Calderdale Council is as a result of stress.

Council officers told members of the Governance and Business Committee that stress-related absence accounts for 22 per cent of sickness.

Employees took an average of 8.5 days off with sickness in the past year compared with 4.9 in the private sector.

Jonny Glenn, manager at Health Minds, Halifax, said: “There are lots of issues within the council - a lot of cuts, a lot of uncertainty - people don’t know if they’re going to have a job this time next year.

“The cuts mean that as fewer people are in services the pressure increases on those remaining.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Use of Resources, Geraldine Carter said: “The committee has set the target to reduce sickness absence and we monitor this very closely.

“Whilst it is good that Calderdale Council’s sickness levels are lower than the regional and national average for local government, they are still too high, and well above those in other sectors.

“As lead member I am working closely with officers to do all we can to tackle this issue.”

Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said the increased stress levels within the council was inevitable with the level of cuts experienced by local authorities.

He said: “The main issue is that the council is trying to provide the same level of service with 40 per cent less money than there was - so we’re asking a lot more of people.”

Work-related stress accounts for 6.3 per cent of sickness at Bradford Council and 14 per cent at Wakefield.