MORE than 450 staff at Barnsley Council have been on long-term sick in the last year - almost 12 per cent of its workforce.

The council defines long-term ill-health as an absence of four or more consecutive weeks.

Figures show that of the 3,782 council staff, not including relief workers, there were 453 employees who had been on long-term sick during 2012/13.

A spokeswoman for the council said some of these staff will have since left the authority but confirmed latest figures signalled a drop in the long-term sick numbers compared to 460 employees in 2011/12.

The spokeswoman said sick pay for these workers is paid in accordance with the employees' conditions of service, which means the amount paid can vary.

She said long term sickness absence, presented as full-time equivalent days per employee, shows in 2011/12 it was almost seven days, in 2012/13 this dropped to six days and the target for 2013/14 is five days.