SICKNESS absence has cost the council over £5million in the last year.

The Times can reveal that North Ayrshire Council missed their annual target for days lost per full-time equivalent worker (FTE) for 2014/15.

The council had set a target for maximising attendance performance at 7.9 average days lost per employee. But they narrowly missed that target as 8.1 average days were lost - a variance of 0.2.

The figures were revealed at the most recent meeting of NAC’s Cabinet.

A report revealed that the Democratic Services, Finance and Corporate Support, Place and Social Services and Health all failed to achieve their annual targets.

The total pay costs (excluding employers’ on-costs) of sickness absence for the year between April 2014 and March this year was £5,220,260.

The quarterly figures increased from September onwards with the highest cost coming between January and March with £1,410,215.

However, some services managed to buck the trend. Economy and Communities averaged 6.6 days lost, beating its target of 9.4 days, while Education & Youth Employment beat its target of 6.7 days by averaging 4.2 over the year.

The report presented to Cabinet last Tuesday (June 23) stated: “Sickness absence presents a cost to the council, both in terms of the direct cost of providing for those absent and in lost work days resulting in reduced or delayed service delivery.

“A proposal is being developed to deliver efficiency savings within services through reduced absence.”