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Council pays out nearly £2m in sick pay

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:34 01 August 2010

MORE than one in 20 staff at Suffolk County Council took time off for stress, anxiety or depression in the last 14 months, new figures reveal.

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The county council paid out nearly £2m in sick pay to staff suffering from the conditions - and lost nearly 17,000 working days.

MORE than one in 20 staff at Suffolk County Council took time off for stress, anxiety or depression in the last 14 months, new figures reveal.

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The county council paid out nearly £2m in sick pay to staff suffering from the conditions - and lost nearly 17,000 working days.

Eight members of staff left the authority altogether after suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.

The county council paid out more than £54,000 in compensation to staff who left after suffering from such conditions.

The figures were disclosed following a Freedom of Information request.

They show that 1,478 employees took absence from the county council because of stress, anxiety and depression between January 1, 2009 and March 15, 2010.

The total number of days lost was 16,886 and the total cost in sick pay was £1,964,911.64.

A spokeswoman for Unison said the figures were worrying because they showed the growing problem of stress levels at the county council.

“These are very difficult times at the moment and staff are facing many uncertainties in the workplace - from the threat of job and pay cuts to freezes in their increments and increased workloads,” she said.

A county council spokeswoman said: “We are committed to maintaining the health and well-being of all employees and we provide support to staff to ensure a healthy work/life balance is maintained.

“In supporting staff, we do not distinguish between work-related and other types of stress, depression or anxiety - for example those which may be of a personal nature.”

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