STAFF sickness levels at City of York Council FELL in the past year according to figures, despite the pandemic.

The council has been trying to tackle staff absence levels for a number of years.

In 2018, councillors decided to take action by putting £180,000 towards a dedicated team to reduce absence rates by a third.

At that time, council staff took an average of 11.5 sick days a year - a figure that rose to 11.6 last year.

But figures up to the end of June 2020 show the number of sick days taken by council staff had dropped to an average of 10.6 per year.

Trudy Forster, head of human resources at the council, warned this number could soon rise.

She said: "We can see the figures come down.

"So I'll just kind of give the heads up in relation to Covid and the new strain - we are seeing an increase in staff absence from December, so that the numbers are going up as people self-isolate and that' will be reflected in the figures that we'll get for the end of March."

A report for the staffing committee says the council currently employees 2,571 people, excluding schools.

In 2018 the main cause of long term sick leave at the council was stress-related conditions, with muscular-skeletal problems as the second most common cause.