London Olympic Games opening ceremony
Council sick days dropped dramatically during the Olympics – but the local authority has dismissed the suggestion that London 2012 is responsible.
Figures obtained by Central Scotland Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell reveal hundreds more public sector staff turned up for work during last summer’s Games than usually at that time of year.
She is suggesting the Olympics “boosted the health” of people in Scotland – but North Lanarkshire Council insist it was an “over-simplification” of the facts.
Mrs Mitchell said: “This reduction in sick days at North Lanarkshire Council is welcome and reveals the positive impact the UK team’s success in London had on people in Scotland.
“TeamGB’s achievements in the summer were a great example of what can be done if we pull together, particularly with such a massive contribution made by Scottish athletes.”
Between July 27 and August 8 last year the number of council sick days was 3956 – a drop of 594 on the previous year’s figure of 4550. The Olympics ran from July 27 to August 12
Across all 27 Scottish authorities that supplied figures there were 58,000 sick days during the Olympics, down by 5000 from the same period in 2011. However, six of those councils saw an increase in sick days.
A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said: “To attribute a fall in absence to the Olympic Games is an over-simplification.
“The council takes absenteeism very seriously and we are committed to reducing days lost throughout the year, not just a narrow, two or three week period.”
However, the Conservatives say the figures suggest workers were boosted by Team GB’s success, possibly through increased exercise and improved diet.
Mrs Mitchell is suggesting that as well as the positive health impact, it will also have improved productivity in local authority buildings, and saved councils thousands of pounds on sickness absence costs.