England’s council-run adult social care sector lost just over 1.1 million sick days last year – but more than four in ten workers recorded no absence at all, official figures show.
Statistics released by NHS Digital shows that for 104,000 directly-employed adult social care local authority staff, the “mean number of sickness days” is 10.7 days.
At September 2020, workers in direct care jobs had the highest number of sickness days with an average of 13.2 days and workers in managerial roles had fewer sickness days on average, at 7.8 days.
Although the mean number of sickness days for workers in adult social services jobs in 2020 was relatively high (10.7 days), a spokesperson said it is “important to note” that nearly half of workers (44.6%) had no sickness days and two thirds of workers (66.1%) had four or fewer sickness days in the previous 12 months.
The figures also show that 7.6% of workers had over 40 sickness days, and particularly high numbers of sickness days can have an impact on the overall mean, the spokesperson said.
Since 2019 the mean number of sickness days has increased by 0.5 days. As this measure is calculated using data in the past 12 months, it spans the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in England which could be a contributing factor to the increase, the spokesperson said.
The statistics are included Personal Social Services: Staff of Social Services Departments, England 2020 and account for approximately 6.9% of the total adult social care workforce in England.