Department of Health

Healthy Workers Initiative

Sydney Water

Sydney Water reduced its staff turnover and absenteeism by encouraging staff to improve their work/life balance by getting them involved in workplace health activities such as lunch time walking groups.

Sydney Waters’ workplace health program aims to:

  • attract and retain staff; and
  • improve staff health and wellbeing.

What workplace health activities does Sydney Water undertake?

  • Onsite fitness classes;
  • Flu vaccines;
Previous activities included:
  • Encouraging lunch time walking groups;
  • Quit smoking sessions; and
  • Health forums.

Getting the workforce on board

Sydney Water encourages its staff to get involved in health promoting programs by promoting events in newsletters and on their intranet.
Sydney Water recognises that working conditions such as hours of work are pivotal to the physical health and wellbeing of workers. Sydney Water therefore offers its employees flexible working conditions including part-time work, compressed work weeks and working from home.

Sydney Water’s Strategy

Sydney Waters’ Human Resources (HR) team works closely with the Executive team to design and monitor the program. They began with a review of current policies and a survey of employee opinions on health and wellbeing initiatives.


  • Staff turnover for employees with less than one years’ service declined from 18% in 2007-08 to fewer than 9% in 2008-09. Management believe the promotion of work/life balance and staff benefit played an important part in the reduction; and
  • Staff absenteeism has declined from 7.2 days of sick leave in 2005-06 to 5.9 days in 2008-09.
  • The results from the staff survey in 2011 indicates that 83% of staff agree or somewhat agree that they would recommend Sydney Water to a friend looking for a job, and 84% of staff agree or somewhat agree that they will tell others about the benefits of working Sydney Water when given the opportunity.

About Sydney Water

Sydney Water provides drinking water, recycled water, waste water services and some storm water services to more than four million customers in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains. Sydney Water has approximately 2900 employees across a diverse range of occupations including engineering, HR, project management, IT, customer services, trades and field work. Approximately three quarters of the workforce is male, with women making up 23.6% of the workforce.