Mental Health and Employers

27 October 2017

Yesterday the government published a report on Mental Health and Employers following a review that commenced in January.

By way of background, it sets out that 15% of those at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition. The estimated annual cost to employers is between £33 billion and £42 billion; over half of which comes from “presenteeism” – when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work – with additional costs from sickness absences and increased staff turnover.

The 84-page report, produced by Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, contains 40 recommendations for employers (see pages 8 to 11 of the report) including:

  • All employers, regardless of workplace type, industry or size to adopt the mental health core standards (as set out on page 8 of the report).
  • Encouraging employers to report on workplace mental health.
  • Professional bodies to include workplace mental health in their training programmes and assessments.
  • The Health and Safety Executive to revise its guidance to raise employer awareness of their duty to assess and manage work-related mental ill-health.
  • The Government protects and promotes the current tax relief for employers to invest in the mental health of their employees.
  • The Government consider legislative change to enhance protections for employees with mental health conditions, particularly fluctuating mental health conditions and clarify the role of employers in providing reasonable adjustments.
  • The Government develops a new flexible model for Statutory Sick Pay to better support those with a mental health condition, where willing and able, to return to work on a voluntary phased return and receive wages and SSP on a pro-rata basis.

We regularly advise on mental health issues in the workplace. If you would like to discuss a current or anticipated matter – please do contact us at your convenience.