Absences cost a Welsh council £1 million last yearA recent rise in the number of sick days taken by staff at a north Wales local authority has been attributed by bosses to increasing workplace stress and mental health problems.

According to BBC News, a new report revealed absences cost Conwy council around £1 million last year, with a total of 12,103 sick days taken throughout 2009 – an average of 11.09 days for each of the organisation's employees.

The researchers blamed the recent recession for the sudden increase in the number of people complaining of illnesses, with councils in Denbighshire and Flintshire also reporting thousands of workers phoning in sick.

"An economic downturn can have a double-edged impact on sickness levels," the document stated. "There could be an increase in sickness absence levels if employees suffer from stress and anxiety."

Last month, the Department for Work and Pensions claimed it was turning away three out of four sickness benefit claimants for being fit to work

Posted by Cameron Thomson