Welsh Council records 15 per cent drop in staff sickness levels

Bridgend County Borough Council has pledged to continue to provide support for staff to help them cope with stress-related issues during the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest figures released Bridgend County Brough Council  have highlighted a significant reduction in overall staff absence levels, with the three-month period between October and December 2020 showing an almost 15 per cent decrease when compared to the previous year.

Stress and other mental health-related issues accounted for the most common cause of staff absence with a recorded increase of just over 12 per cent.

Throughout the pandemic, council staff have been able to access support to help them cope with the pressures associated with the pandemic. This has included a full programme of daily webinars and access to a wide range of training, well-being and counselling resources.

The council’s Group Manager for Human Resources and Organisational Development, Debra Beeke, said: “Staff have demonstrated their commitment and dedication throughout the pandemic, and have ensured that local people have been able to benefit from essential council services.

“This has been an incredibly challenging time, especially for staff working in front-line roles. Whether it is dealing with vulnerable people and the risks and losses associated with that area of work or the need to balance home and work pressures in difficult circumstances, stress factors linked to the pandemic will of course apply in different ways for employees of the council.

“The improved position on overall staff absence levels is likely to be down to staff being able to better manage short-term illnesses while working from home, but there is no doubt that the impact of the pandemic has been a real factor on the prominence of stress and mental health-related absences.

“Over the year, we have worked hard to support staff by providing a range of programmes, training and well-being tools such as daily webinars and counselling services, and we want this to continue.

“Our future aims for developing this support further include taking forward a Well-Being Action Plan, targeting particular groups of employees or areas of work, and exploring a greater use of therapies to meet the demand of more complex cases.”

Councillors on the council’s corporate overview and scrutiny committee discussed a report on sickness absence on Wednesday 14 April.