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Derbyshire County Council launches plan to improve employee wellbeing

The strategy was approved in cabinet last week.

Councillor Angelique Foster, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, and employees at the Call Derbyshire contact centre have launched the council’s new Workplace Wellbeing Strategy.

The strategy, which will support council employees with their physical and mental health and aims to reduce sickness absence, was approved by Cabinet on Thursday 6 June.

The county council employs around 13,500 people in a wide range of jobs including road workers, care workers, cooks, cleaners, engineers, social workers, librarians, administrators and many more.

Sickness rates at the council are higher than the public sector average. In 2018/2019 10.22 days per employee were lost to sickness, compared to the public sector average of 8.4. They are also higher than the private sector, at 4.4 days, and the non-profit sector at 6.3 days.

However, the cost of sickness has fallen from £8.9 million in 2016/2017 to £7.8 million in 2018/2019.

Councillor Foster said: “We want to do everything we can to make sure we are a healthy and happy place to work, but at the same time we need to reduce our sickness rates.

“We have a duty to reduce employee absence, for example by helping someone to manage a health condition and stay at work, and a responsibility to colleagues who have to cover for sickness absence. We also have a duty to council taxpayers because employee sickness costs the council around £8m a year.”

“Although the cost of sickness is falling we do need to do a lot more to reduce the amount of time employees have off sick. There is also evidence that improving people’s wellbeing will improve workplaceperformance.”

Call Derbyshire managers are working with the Healthy Workplaces Derbyshire team to set up a tailored range of wellbeing initiatives for their employees.

Healthy Workplaces Derbyshire is a health and wellbeing programme run by the county council’s public health team that is available to all businesses and public sector organisations across Derbyshire whether they are small, medium or large.

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