Job cut fears increase Portsmouth City Council sickness days

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PORTSMOUTH City Council’s leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has admitted the threat of job losses may be to blame for an increase in staff sickness.

In the period September to December 2010, council staff absence rose for the second consecutive time.

The council’s 4,339 non-school employees took a total of 10,502 sick days, an increase of 451 days on June to September of the same year.

If this was taken as representative of the whole 12 months, each council employee would have 9.4 sick days off a year. The equivalent calculation for June to September 2010 was 9.3 days on average.

It is up on the same period of 2009, when the average figure was nine days per employee.

The main reason for the absences was ‘viruses’, with 3,698 days lost, but the council’s culture and legal licensing departments lost 88.05 days and 64 days respectively to ‘psychological reasons’.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson admitted council plans to cut 180 jobs may have played a part in the rise.

He said: ‘The threat of job losses due to government cuts has caused stress. We want managers to help staff back, maybe to do part of what they were doing, if they can’t do the same level of work.’