Why mental health can't be ignored by businesses any more

Short-term sick leave is at a record low, but stress and mental health problems are on the rise, according to a new survey.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 21 Sep 2015

A record number of companies are reporting employees taking long-term leave for stress and mental health disorders and it’s only been rising since the financial crisis kicked off.

More than half said it was a cause of long-term absence, a rise of 7% over the last five years, according to the survey of 335 manufacturers by industry body EEF.  A fifth cited it as the most common cause, up 4% in that period.

‘This possibly reflects, for the first time, evidence of the effect on employees of the long period of recession and austerity,’ EEF said in a statement, although it could also be a result, at least in part, of more people getting diagnosis and proper treatment for stress and the like.

Meanwhile, overall levels of time off for illness fell to a record low of 2.1%, equivalent to 4.9 days per employee every year. However, that level has hovered around 2.2-2.3% since 2010, with EEF suggesting the ‘big inroads into short term absence’ have already been made.

More employers are investing in the health and wellbeing of their staff: two-thirds have sick leave programs and 68% offer occupational health services. However, more needs to be done to tackle mental health issues if that investment is going to actually result in healthier, happier employees.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Upcoming Events

Subscribe

Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today