SIX Southampton City Council’s employees have been dismissed for sickness absence over the past few months.

The news comes after the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) revealed that city council’s employees calling in sick cost the authority more than £3million a year.

A report published by Southampton City Council (SCC) has revealed that in some departments the sickness absence days per employee is still higher than the sector average of 8.5 days.

The document also showed that between April and June this year six employees were dismissed for sickness absence.

It comes as last month the LDRS revealed that between January and March 2019 the council had four dismissals for sickness absence.

The latest report, which was discussed by the Governance Committee on Monday, revealed that between April and June 2019 the overall sickness levels for the council showed an average 12.19 days per employee.

This is a reduction from the first three months of the year, when the overall sickness levels for the authority showed an average of 12.49 days per employee.

But councillors said sickness absence remains a concern.

Cllr Eamonn Keogh, chairman of the Governance Committee, said: “It is definitively an issue and a concern and it is a priority for this committee. What we intend to do is look at areas where there is a significant level of absence and go through what action they are implementing to make sure that sickness levels are brought back to what we expect.”

The document revealed that Children and Families and Transactions and Universal Services are the departments most affected, with 15.03 and 14.93 sickness absence days per employee respectively.

According to the report, the HR team provides managers with monthly absence data and looks to identify and address “hot spots” and underlying issues.

A target reduction of number of days lost to sickness will see an increased

focus in return to work meetings, workshops, occupational health

sessions for staff and the offer of autumn flu jabs, the authority said.

But opposition councillor Rob Harwood added: “We are still a long way from the industry average. They have to make sure that the managers implement the policy and it is consistent.”