Over 3.1 days per staff member have been lost due to sickness in the Northern Ireland Civil Service in the previous quarter, according to new figures.
The figure from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) found that there has been an increase of a day per staff member lost to illness compared to last year’s statistics.
The absence levels equate to almost £10 million in lost production, with the latest figures showing over 68,000 working days are lost within the civil service.
This is an increase on the cost of lost production in the previous quarter (£8.6 million) and the corresponding quarter in 2020 (£5.9 million).
The figures show between July 1 2021 and September 30 2021, 84.5% of staff had no absence, however this was a decrease from the previous quarter which was 86.3%.
The figures showed the level of absence within departments across the civil service varied.
The highest level was within the Department of Justice (DoJ), with the figures revealing an average of 4.7 days lost in the last quarter.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) saw an average of 3.8 days lost.
Meanwhile, the Public Prosecution Service saw just 1.8 working days on average lost in the latest report.
All departments, aside from The Executive Office (TEO) experienced a rise in absence levels compared to the previous quarter and compared to the corresponding quarter in the previous year.
The increase in absence in the Department for Communities (DfC), over the quarter, had the greatest impact on the 0.3 day increase in the overall absence level for the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Within the figures the reason for absences was given, with anxiety, stress and depression among the reasons that accounted for the greatest proportion of working days lost (40.0%) during the quarter.
Within this category, work-related stress accounted for 35.8% of the days lost while non work-related stress accounted for 32.5%.
Covid-19 accounted for 0.44 working days lost per staff year equivalent in the July 2021 - September 2021 quarter which was the equivalent of 14.0% of all civil service sickness absence days.