Days taken off by Civil Servants due to stress and mental health problems jumped by 38 percent to 2022, new figures reveal. A record 771,433 days of civil service work were lost to mental health sick days, an increase on the previous record of 558,125 the previous year.
According to Labor the “shocking figures” reveal “a mental health crisis at the heart of Whitehall”, accusing the government of not properly supporting workers with anxiety and depression.
The amount of sick leave being taken by mandarins for mental health conditions has increased every year for the past decade, with unions blaming rising workloads, Covid, staff cuts, low pay and poor morale.
However the number of civil servants has now returned to the same level as 2010, despite previous conservative governments’ attempts to cut numbers.
The Department for Work and Pensions came second, with 236,365.
The Ministry of Defense saw the third highest number of mental health sick days, at 88,723.
On his GB News show this evening, former Cabinet Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg decried “pesky civil servants” for refusing to work.
Mr Rees-Mogg pointed out that the 771,000 mental health sick days were paid for by taxpaying GB News viewers, and sarcastically added: “I can’t help but wonder why the civil service is struggling so much”.
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“I thought working from home was meant to be the answer to all their prayers and marvelous for their well-being.
“Well that’s what they told us, but perhaps not.
“Personally I think stress is just being busy and that one should stiffen one’s upper lip, apply a little bit of starch and get on with life.
“It’s rather a sort of woke BBC concept that you should suffer from stress, and I think the solution is to get up off the sofa, leave the picket line of your own front door and get back into the office.”
He added: “I worry… that ‘stress’ has become the new ‘bad back’, and that there are people with mental health issues who need a lot of support and treatment, but that because stress has become a catch-all this is undermining the support available for real mental health and distress is being used by people who actually just don’t want to go into work”.
Mr Rees-Mogg asked why absence rates are so much higher in the civil service than in the private sector.
During his time as Cabinet Office minister in charge of government efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg launched a campaign to get Whitehall workers back to the office, and cut numbers following a recruitment surge during Brexit and Covid.
He led a probe into a “culture of wastefulness” in Whitehall, including ending the Fast Stream program, selling unused buildings and forcing civil servants back to the office.
He famously left notes on civil servants’ desks reading: “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon. With every good wish, Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.”
Rishi Sunak reversed Mr Rees-Mogg’s government efficiency drive when entering Downing Street, reinstating the Fast Stream program and canceling a planned cull of 91,000 jobs.