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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-17089: Angus MacDonald (Falkirk East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 6 June 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it takes to ensure that (a) it and (b) its agencies treat staff with fairness and compassion when they or members of their immediate family are diagnosed with a serious illness, and how it can encourage other public sector employers to do so.

Answered by: Derek Mackay 19 June 2018

The Scottish Government attendance management policy encourages managers to provide support to staff during periods of illness. Staff who are sick have access to specialist occupational health support and advice from professional HR staff including the People Advice and Wellbeing Counsellor. The Government also has a contract in place for employee assistance support which provides staff with free confidential counselling and wellbeing advice. This contract is also available to wider public sector bodies.

Access to the employee assistance facility also extends to close members of the employee’s family.

Where a family member is unwell, the Scottish Government provides access to domestic leave and carer support in order to help employees to manage their caring responsibilities and remain in the workplace. Where a period away from work may be required to help employees care for family members, consideration will be given to career breaks or other forms of leave.

The Carers Network has been established to allow carers within Scottish Government to share information and experiences and provide mutual support. The Government also supports the Carer’s Passport initiative set up by the Charity for Civil Servants.

The Scottish Government shares good practice with other public sector bodies via an HR network which encourages members to share ideas and promote good practice.