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Council set to introduce workplace wellbeing measures

Published: 30 May 2019

We’re set to introduce a workplace wellbeing strategy to support employees with their physical and mental health.

We employ 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.

Our Cabinet will meet to consider the proposed strategy on Thursday 6 June 2019. If approved, it would aim to increase the wellbeing of the workforce and reduce the amount of sickness absence. 

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.

Our Cabinet Member for Corporate Services Councillor Angelique Foster said:

“If approved by Cabinet next week the wellbeing strategy would create an organisational culture which proactively supported health and wellbeing and enabled a safe and healthy working environment for all employees.

“We want to ensure that we are a healthy place to work, but at the same time we do need to reduce our sickness rates.

“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 evidence that improvement to wellbeing will improve workplace performance.

“If approved, our new strategy would improve how we manage sickness absence through better reporting and more action from managers. We would set targets to reduce sickness absence.”

The actions proposed in delivering the strategy would encourage and support employees to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle and support people with manageable health conditions or disabilities, enabling them to retain employment and develop their careers.

Occupational health services would be provided which focused on intervention and prevention as well as providing support for employees with health conditions.

It would also ensure a consistent application of the attendance management policy.

Some of the wellbeing measures already in place for our employees include:

  • e-learning training on stress, mental health, alcohol and drug awareness, manual handling and display screen equipment
  • counselling and physiotherapy services
  • Healthy Workplaces Derbyshire initiatives which work specific service areas to identify issues and improve health and wellbeing
  • flexible working procedures to support work-life and health balance
  • cycle to work scheme
  • encouraging activities to support employee walking and cycle and environmentally friendly and sustainable travel
  • flu jabs for key frontline employees
  • Live Life Better Derbyshire service – support to lose weight, stop smoking, to be more active and resolve other life situation issues

The cabinet report is attached to this page.