STAFF sickness levels are continuing to rise within the workforce at Inverclyde Council.

An increase in absence levels has been reported for the year 2022/23, with 11.19 workdays lost per employee.

This is up significantly when compared to the 8.29 days lost in 2021/22, 6.92 days in 2020/21 and 9.18 in 2019/20.

Personnel chiefs say the increase can be 'partly attributed to Covid-19 sickness absence no longer being a separate special reported category'.

Such absences are now included within the overall sickness absence recording.

A new report by officials says: "It should also be appreciated that the increase seen in Inverclyde is common across Scotland.

"The Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) includes comparative statistics for sickness absence days per employee.

"It notes that across the country staff absence levels are at the highest ever reported, citing workforce pressures exacerbated by recruitment issues, NHS backlogs and treatment delays alongside increasing mental health issues."