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The Mail on Sunday reports that Birmingham City Council spends nearly £35 million a year on Sick Pay to its staff. The paper also reports that many councils allow staff who claim to be sick while on holiday to have extra holiday to make up for it.

In Birmingham's council staff took an average of 9.5 days off sick a year – three days higher than the private sector average. The figure comes from a Taxpayers Alliance Freedom of Information request. I'm not sure whether Birmingham are actually doing worse  than the public sector average. Of course their cost will be high since they are such a big council.

In Hammersmith & Fulham it is 8.5 days a year off sick for council staff. This compares with 10.4 when Labour ran the council in 2006.

Whether sickness is genuine or fake it should be a matter of concern to managers if their staff are not turning up to work. It is something they should be talking to staff about not something that is ignored as if their presence or absence is a matter of indifference.

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