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Mental health conditions top list of reasons for absence from work


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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Posted on 05/09/2013

Initial findings from the CBI/Pfizer Absence and Workplace Health Survey show that mental health conditions have become the single most widespread cause of long-term absence from work.  More than half of employers involved in the survey cited non-work related stress, anxiety and depression as a cause of long-term absence for non-manual workers, while some 42% attributed the same cause to long term absence among manual workers.

It is also the third most common cause of short-term absence, according to 46% of employers of non-manual staff and 31% of employers of manual workers.

Mental illness related to work is the ninth most common cause of long-term absence overall, and the eleventh most common cause of short-term absence. Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said: “Businesses are increasingly aware progress on workplace safety has to go hand-in-hand with similar progress on health. These findings show mental health issues are a major cause of absence, so it’s no surprise that nine out of ten businesses are taking positive action to manage mental illness. We need to make sure the health service – through the fit note and new occupational health supports firms in helping staff back into work.”

The survey involved HR practitioners and managers in 153 organisations employing 850,000 people across the UK’s public and private sectors. It found that:

  • 92% of organisations have stress and anxiety management policies in place
  • In 68% of larger businesses these are formal policies, where 30% take an informal approach
  • 50% of smaller firms take an informal approach to managing mental health, with 33% taking a formal one
  • The most widely-used practices across all organisations to help support employees are flexible working (82%), counselling (79%) and occupational health support (78%)
  • Meanwhile half of all the employers surveyed conduct regular risk assessments for stress or other workplace causes of mental health problems.

About the Author

Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and dismissal procedures. Visit for more information.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-09-13 09:07:16 in Employee Articles

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