Exclusive: Sick leave at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs cost the government almost £1m last year

 
Sarah Spickernell
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Three per cent of Defra employees took more than 20 days off (Source: Getty)

Sick leave at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) cost the government an estimated £942,000 in 2014.

The figure, uncovered by City A.M. through a freedom of information request, is based on the number of sickness-related absences across the department over the course of the year, multiplied by average employee salary.
Not only that, but 38 out of the department's 2,127 employees took more than 30 days off during the 12 month period, while 62 took more than 20 days off – that is three per cent of all its employees.
The highest number of sick days taken by any one individual at Defra was 188, but there were others who took 149 days, 146 says and 124 days.
Defra was unable to comment on the reasons given for taking sick leave.

Lower than the average

Despite the large number of people who took long periods of sick leave, when you look at the department as a whole it becomes clear that those at Defra are a pretty healthy bunch.
A total of 5,423 days were taken off over the course of the year, which was an average of 2.5 per person – lower than the national average of 4.4 and lower than the average at the Department of Health (DoH) – the representatives of our nation's good health.

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