Council departments across Fife have been urged to curtail their use of overtime after spending reached a five-year high.
The local authority’s overtime bill for 2019/20 jumped up to £3.83 million, according to a new report to the council’s environment, finances and communities scrutiny committee.
It is the highest level since the total hit £3.93 million in the 2015/16 financial year.
The sum represents around 0.7% of the total staffing budget, exceeding the 0.5% maximum level recommended to departments.
The rise has prompted a renewed call for managers to use overtime as sparingly as possible.
More than half of the spend (54%) was attributed to enterprise and environment, largely put down to winter gritting, emergency repairs and ensuring work was completed within timeframes.
Almost a third (31%) was recorded by the health and social care partnership, which was mainly due to temporary overtime requirements and public holiday working.
The report also noted a fall in the amount spent on agency workers by Fife Council in the last year, with the local authority shelling out just over £2.93 million compared with £2.97 million the year before and the £4.94 million spent in 2015/16.
Sharon McKenzie, head of human resources at Fife Council, said: “Agency workers and overtime have a key role to play in enabling the uninterrupted delivery of essential services.
“The cost of each of them is borne by services and against their staffing budget.
“Human resources and finance monitor the use of agency workers and overtime and work proactively in partnership with services to find longer term solutions where viable.
“The aim is to ensure that their use is cost-effective, appropriate and kept to a minimum.”
The report also revealed health and social care accounts for around 65% of all agency worker spending in the council.
Reasons for agency worker spend in health and social care ranged from increased workload (46%) and sickness (20%) to holiday cover (18%).