Cost of council staff sickness absences over £3m a year

Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Over the last three years, employee sick days have cost the council £9.74m, and last year alone £3.33m was spent on sick leave.

A previous freedom of information request to the council found that it loses more than 45,000 days to sickness absence each year, with the most common reason for absence among its 4,400 employees being anxiety, depression, or stress.

Between 2013 and 2017, council employees took 45,982 sick days due to mental health issues, an average of 9,196 days a year.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “The overall number of days lost to employee sickness has reduced by over 40 per cent in the last five years, while the number of days lost to staff suffering from anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues reduced by almost half in the same period. The council remains committed to the health, wellbeing and professional development of all our staff and making sure they feel valued, supported and provided with the right environment, training, skills and knowledge to do their job.”