Health and wellbeing in the workplace: Are you doing enough?
According to a recent government report, 1 in 4 people in the UK will have mental health problem at some point in life and 1 in 6 workers has a mental health problem right now.
Workplace stress and mental health issues are on the rise. They account for 39% of work related absence with 11.3 million working days lost a year. Interestingly, 95% of employees give their employer an alternative reason for absence if they are off work due to stress.
The cost of poor mental health to the economy as a whole, when viewed in terms of lost output is estimated between £74 and £99 billion per year. The cost of poor mental health to employers across the UK is between £33 and £42 billion per year.
What can employers do?
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan.
- Develop mental health awareness among employees.
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling.
- Provide employees with good working conditions.
- Promote effective people management.
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
What Does the Law Say?
The law provides protection for employees who suffer from a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Amongst other things, an employer discriminates against a disabled person by failing to comply with its duty to make reasonable adjustments where a disabled job applicant or employee is placed at a substantial disadvantage.
DLP recommends employers keep sickness absence under regular review. Employers should also meet with employees who are absent, either on their return as part of a back to work meeting, or at a sickness review meeting, with a view to discussing their absence, their health, and what assistance might be required.