Absenteeism among Council staff falling

Derek Hussey.
Derek Hussey.

Absenteeism among staff at Derry City & Strabane District Council has been reduced by around 10 per cent following a range of new initiatives aimed at promoting health and well being.

A new report for April to September 2017 showed that the rate had fallen from 6.8 per cent for the previous year, to 6.1 per cent so far this year.

The Council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee heard on Tuesday that an action plan has been developed with specific targets which includes management and trade unions working together to address sickness absence and improve the health and wellbeing of staff.

Since April, 70 per cent of council employees have had full attendance.

A presentation on the Council’s ‘BeWell’ initiative was also delivered at the meeting by Human resources Officer Mary McLaughlin.

She told the Committee that employees had access to discounted gym facilities and an award-winning Active Travel and other programmes with Sustrans.

Council initiatives included group events centred around health checks, healthy eating, smoking cessation and sleeping well.

UUP Councillor Derek Hussey said he had personally found the BeWell programme “extremely useful and informative and a tremendous way of engaging with staff”.

Sinn Fein Councillor Caoimhe McKnight praised all the hard work that had gone in to developing projects and described the BeWell project as “fantastic”.