The total cost of extended sick leave at Wiltshire Council since 2020 is £1.481 million, a freedom of information request has revealed.

It also showed that the most common reasons for extended leave are related to mental health issues.

Extended sick leave refers to leave of six months or more.

Since 2020, there have been 120 extended periods of absence at Wiltshire Council taken by 116 employees.

The majority of these employees were from the adult social care department, followed by the highways and transport department.

Among the reasons for sick leave are issues such as long covid and cancer.

However, the most common reason is listed as “stress/depression/mental health/fatigue”, with 55 of the total periods of absence falling under that category.

This means that 46 per cent of extended sick leave at Wiltshire Council since 2020 has been taken for mental health struggles.

The council’s departing CEO, Terence Herbert, recently spoke about the pressures and challenges that are faced by employees.

He explained that negative public perception was one of the most difficult aspects of working within the council.

Back in 2016, the council’s corporate director Maggie Rae left her role after being signed off for three months with stress-related issues.

Wiltshire Council has been contacted for comment.