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Mental Health and Workplace Absence

Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Note: this article was first written by our colleagues at Solve HR, before Solve HR joined Law At Work in March 2020. We have imported this...

Mental Health issues are now the biggest reason for employees being absent from work. Recent statistics show that on average 131 million days are lost to sickness absence in the UK each year. This is equivalent to 4.4 days per worker. So what obligations do employers have to their employees where mental health issues arise or are suspected? Employers are obliged to investigate and ascertain the genuine medical position of employees who have advised or are showing symptoms of mental health issues such as stress or depression. Employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace and jobs for those employees found to be suffering from a disability. With the requirement for investigation, employers should be alert to the potential symptoms of mental health issues in order that they can ensure their obligations are met. To that end it is useful to know what these symptoms may look like and the list below should trigger action from those employers wishing to avoid claims of unfair dismissal, disability discrimination or damages for psychiatric injury: A decline in performance Loss of motivation Not using annual leave or doing increasing amounts of overtime Employees withdrawing Aggression For further advice on handling mental health in the workplace, contact your Solve representative.

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