Staff who are absent from work through sickness: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

In your request you asked for the number of days absence due to ill health taken by staff in each of the past 5 years broken down by medical condition. You also requested further information in relation to the number of staff absent due to ill health and the average as well as maximum length of absence in each of the past 5 years.


The Scottish Government is committed to supporting staff who are absent from work through sickness with a view to facilitating a return to the workplace as soon as possible. Staff sickness levels and the causes of absence are closely monitored.

The Scottish Government has robust policies and practices in place to support staff when on short and long term absence. Support measures include access to advice from an Occupational Health Service, support and where appropriate, short term counselling from an Employee Assistance Service, a staff network of Mental Health First Aiders and support from an in-house Counselling and Wellbeing team and Workplace Adjustments team. The Scottish Government also encourages staff to use an Employee Passport to record information about any adjustments that are required to support them at work.

The information in response to your request is contained in Annexes C-F. For context, I have also provided information about staffing numbers in each of the years – Annex B – and the percentage of working days lost to illness in each of the years – Annex G. Information on reasons for ill health, including illness recorded as ‘ill defined’, are based on World Health Organisation (WHO) codes.

Please note, this information relates to the core directorates within the Scottish Government (see Annex A for details).

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

Annexes_A-G_ 202300354727


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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