Staff absences, dismissals, retirements and injury benefit claims due to Long COVID: FOI release
- People Directorate
Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
1. How many employees have left your organisation due to ill health? Of these how many have been:
- dismissed on ill health grounds?
- retired on ill health grounds?
2. How many employees in your organisation are absent due to long-term ill-health? Of these, how many:
- Are absent due to “long Covid” (i.e. with a diagnosis)?
- Are absent due to symptoms comparable to “long covid” (i.e. without a diagnosis)?
3. Of the employees who have been dismissed on ill health grounds, how many of these:
- Were dismissed due to “long Covid”, (i.e. with a diagnosis)?
- Were dismissed due to symptoms comparable to “long covid” (i.e. without a diagnosis)?
4. Of the employees who have been retired on ill health grounds, how many of these:
- Were retired due to “long Covid”, (i.e. with a diagnosis)?
- Were retired due to symptoms comparable to “long covid” (i.e. without a diagnosis)?
5. How many personal injury claims your organisation has received from employees who have long Covid?
6. Finally, please provide your sickness and absence policy for managing employee absence due to “long Covid”.
In your request, you have asked for information about Scottish Government employees. Our response therefore covers staff employed in the Scottish Government core directorates (see Annex A for details).
The information you have requested is shown in the attached excel sheet.
In relation to question 1, you will wish to note that employees who voluntarily resign from the organisation do not need to specify their reasons for doing so. We do not, therefore, hold information about resignations where ill-health may have been a factor in the person’s decision to leave. Similarly, where an individual reaches retirement age, we do not hold information about their reason for retiring.
We do, however, hold information about dismissals on ill-health grounds and ill-health retirements as provided for under the Civil Service Pension Scheme arrangements. Information about both is provided in the attached spreadsheet.
In relation to question 2 (number of employees who are absent due to long term ill- heath), you will wish to note that the figures provided represent the number of staff who have had at least one period of long-term sickness absence in each of the years mentioned. We consider a staff member to be on long term sickness absence once their absence reaches 28 days.
In your request you have asked for information about absences, dismissals and retirements due to ‘long COVID (with a diagnosis)’. We are unable to provide figures for the number of staff members who were absent due to ‘long COVID (with a diagnosis)’ for the period before 29 July 2022 and this is therefore a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not hold that information. We do not hold information about ‘long COVID’ prior to that date because long COVID was not one of the available absence reasons held within our HR System (e-HR).
You have also asked us to provide information about absences due to ‘symptoms comparable to long COVID’. We have interpreted your request to mean absences where COVID has been a contributing factor. As our systems do not record the underlying cause of an illness, we are unable to provide this information (for example, shortness of breath is a common symptom of long COVID but also of other conditions such as asthma, COPD or bronchitis etc. All of these conditions would be recorded on our system as ‘Respiratory Disease’).
If we have interpreted your request incorrectly, please let me know.
We are able to provide more specific information for cases where an individual has been dismissed or retired on ill-health grounds. This is because we hold more detailed information for these cases and the overall numbers are smaller. Information in relation to questions 3 and 4 is therefore provided in the attached spreadsheet.
Information about question 5 is also provided in the spreadsheet.
Finally, you have asked for a copy of our sickness and absence policy for managing employee absence due to ‘long COVID’. That information is provided at Annex B.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
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- Excel document
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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