Absenteeism levels in Derry & Strabane Council continue to fall

Headquarters of Derry City & Strabane District Council on the Strand Road.
Headquarters of Derry City & Strabane District Council on the Strand Road.

Absence rate levels for Derry & Strabane Council staff have decreased to 5.5 per cent for the period April 2018 to March 2019, and representing a significant reduction of almost 30 over cent when compared to the first year of the new Council when the rate was 7.8%.

In a report this week, it was stated that this meant that average days lost has dropped from 17 days in 2015-16 to 12.3 days in 2018-19.

Lead Human Resources Officer Paula Donnelly pointed out that almost 70% of Council employees had full attendance for this period and the reduction was reflected across all Council sections. She attributed the reduction to the implementation of an action plan that was developed with specific targets.

These included management and trade unions working together to address sickness absence and improve the health and wellbeing of staff. She said a robust monitoring system and new attendance policy were put into place.

She explained that the HR team within Council continue to work closely with line managers to address absence issues and a very strong focus is placed on encouraging staff to participate in the Council’s Be Well Initiative.

Referring to the recent Local Government Auditor’s Report that was published earlier this month, the Lead HR Officer informed members that Derry City and Strabane District Council was highlighted as the Council showing the greatest overall improvement since the new Councils were established in 2015/16.

She said that in its report, the LGA presented a case study using Derry City and Strabane District Council as an example of best practice in terms of reducing absenteeism levels.