Stress Related Absence


Stress Related Absence

According to the CIPD Absence Management Survey report for 2015 there was again an increase in stress related absence for the 6th consecutive year. The Health and Safety Executive also estimated that 9.9 million days were lost to work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15.

It is perceived that by reducing headcount during the recession, employees have taken up additional tasks and responsibilities of those that left. In addition, 24 hour access to technology can also cause employees to carry on working and being accessible in the evenings and at weekends. This can contribute to a poor work/life balance which can contribute to health issues.

Job insecurity can also lead to employees being reluctant to let employers know when they are feeling vulnerable, but not resolving the issue may well end with the employee going absent due to sickness.

In an attempt to reduce risk of work related stress, employers may want to consider implementing a Stress at Work Policy to encourage employees to speak to their Managers about how they are feeling. Catching any issues early by helping and supporting the employee to manage the demands is far easier than having to deal with a long term absence issue as a result of work related stress and in worse cases depression.

Excessive demands on employees work loads and impinging on their personal time can ultimately cause work related stress and may even lead to anxiety or depression. Depression can also be considered as a disability and therefore has protection from discrimination. Getting it wrong can be very costly!!!

Rather than expecting employees to cope with additional responsibilities and pressure, it may make more sense to be proactive by analysing absence records a little more closely and to put supportive measures in place. Employers could also consider an ‘Employee Survey' which is carried out anonymously and encourages employees to identify what they really feel they are up against.

Angie.  You can contact Angie Dansey at

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