Stress related absences: FOI release

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

Information requested

How many Scottish Government civil servants have been absent from work due to stress related conditions in each of the past five years?

Of those absent in each year, how many were off work for more than (a) a week, (b) a month and (c) indefinitely?

What was the total number of sick days due to stress related absences in each of those years?


The answer to your question is in the table below.

Please note that there are two ways for us to interpret the duration of a sickness absence, the span of the absence from start to finish in calendar days and the number of scaled days which is adjusted for a persons individual working pattern. For example a person who is contracted to work for two days a week could have a sickness absence which spanned over a calendar week but in which only four days of work were missed. As the second part of your question refers to calendar amounts of time the spans of absence have been used to establish sickness absence duration. For the third part of your question which refers to the total number of sick days, scaled sick days have been used.

Calendar Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Number of staff with absence due to 'Stress' or 'Stress - Work Related' 164 200 266 261 325
Number of absence due to 'Stress' or 'Stress - Work Related' which spanned more than          
a) a week (8-30 consecutive days) 62 56 86 79 92
b) a month (31-364 consecutive days) 33 49 63 56 91
c) indefinitely (365 consecutive days or more) 0 0 1 0 2
Number of scaled sickness days due to 'Stress' or 'Stress - Work Related' 3107.94 4636.95 5740.78 4968.19 7460.95

These figures refer to staff in the core Scottish Government only. These figures should be viewed within the context of increasing staff numbers, more information on staffing and sickness levels can be found in our workforce statistics publication which is available here:

The Scottish Government is committed to the health and wellbeing of its staff and provides a range of support including access to a 24/7 employee assistance service.

Absence levels, and the reasons for absence, are being monitored closely as staff adapt to hybrid working. Robust policies and practices are in place to support those on short and long-term absence.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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