45% employers consider stress and mental health a major cause of staff absence

Dealing with the issues of stress and mental ill health is particularly tough for employers as mental illness is often a contributory factor for an absence or develops as an absence continues.

Now that 40 per cent of employers are recording the secondary cause of absence as well as the primary stated reason for long-term sick leave it is easier to measure the impact mental health plays from the outset. There is a growing need for early intervention strategies to help support people in managing these conditions and help them get back into the workplace.

Unsurprisingly, employers appear concerned about the impact of stress and mental ill health on their business, with 36 per cent of those sampled seeing managing stress and mental ill health as their top health and wellbeing issue up five per cent on last year. A further quarter thought that maintaining a good work/life balance amongst employees was a top priority.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, commented: Where once stress and mental ill health were commonly overlooked as a key health risk for businesses (compared to acute medical conditions such as heart attack or cancer) employers appear to be taking note. These figures prove just how big an impact stress and mental ill health can have on employers when managing the well-being of their business and the implications for absence rates if left unchecked.

It is encouraging to see that more and more businesses are recognising that stress related absence is a major issue. Often, the condition keeping people away from work is not necessarily the same as the condition that caused the initial absence. Many employers are now recording the secondary cause of absence as part of the measures they use to reduce absence in the workplace. “

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