May 02, 2014 - Rachel Miller
A quarter of UK employers say that employee stress is a major reason for short-term staff absence and almost half say it impacts on long-term sick leave, according to new research from Group Risk Development (GRiD).
The survey found that 45% of UK employers considered stress and mental ill health a major cause of long-term absence amongst their employees, and 25% reported that stress is a major cause of absence in the short term too.
In addition, 36% of respondents said that managing stress and mental ill health is their number one health and wellbeing priority – up 5% on 2013. A further quarter (25%) thought that maintaining a good work/life balance amongst employees was a top priority.
As a result, 40% of employers now record the secondary cause of absence as well as the primary stated reason for long-term sick leave in order to measure the impact of mental health on their staff.
The report highlights the need for employers to make early interventions when managing stress and mental ill health cases to avoid longer employee absences.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: "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."
She added: "It is encouraging to see that more and more businesses are recognising that stress-related absence is a major issue. 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."