Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland civil servant sickness rates improve according to statistics

Sickness rates within the NI civil service have improved according to the latest set of statistics from the Department of Finance.

On average, 10.4 days were lost per staff member per year - down from 11 days.

Staff with the Department of Social Development took the most days off - 13 on average.

Those who worked in the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers were absent on average for 5.4 days.

As in previous years, the level of absence was highest at the administrative officer (AO) grade level (13.2 days).

The absence level of females reduced from 14.2 days in 2009/2010 to 12.9 days in 2010/2011 but was still higher than that of males (8.1 days).

It remained higher (11.7 days) even when pregnancy-related disorders were taken into account.

The main reason for absence was anxiety/stress/depression or other psychiatric illnesses.

The proportion of working days lost due to illnesses of this type was 30.4%, a similar proportion to the previous year (30.5%).

The figures show the level of absence in the civil service is due, in large part, to a relatively small group of staff (10.3%) being absent from work on a long-term basis for an average of 61.7 working days.

This group of staff accounted for 71.0% of the total days lost.

The level of absence was highest for staff aged 55+ (11.2 days).

At 9.9 days, staff aged 16-24 had the lowest level of absence.

Staff within their first year of employment lost significantly fewer days to sickness absence (5.4 days) than staff who had been employed for one year or more (10.5 days).

The statistics are available on the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

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