Employee Wellbeing: Mental Health
18th July, 2019
A happy employee is a productive employee.
World Health Organisation Definition of Good Mental Health:
“A state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her potential can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and can contribute to her or his community”.
The evidence is clear that an employee with good mental health is more productive. As such promoting good mental health in the workplace is one of the most important steps an employer can take to improve an organisation.
Conversely, poor mental health can lead to long term absence, the risk of costly court claims, serious risks to health and safety, and decreased productivity. In fact, it is estimated that poor mental health costs employers in the UK about £30 billion every year.
Promoting positive mental health in the workplace ACAS is a public body of the UK Government and has recommended that all employers should take the following steps to promote positive mental health in the workplace:
- Take the time to understand mental health
- Commit to improving mental health within the workplace
- Educate the workforce about mental health
- Understand where to go for further support
Is my organisation at risk of a claim?
There are several claims that an employee, suffering from poor mental health, can bring against your organisation if you fail to deal with their issues appropriately. These include claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination and personal injury all of which can be costly and damaging to the reputation of your organisation.
A person suffering from poor mental health may be classed as disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. The cornerstone of disability discrimination law is the duty upon an employer to make reasonable adjustments. There is no exhaustive list of reasonable adjustments which an employer can make to accommodate an employee suffering from poor mental health. This will depend on the circumstances of each specific case.
However, common adjustments include a change to working hours, a phased return to work, a review of workload, the offer of home-working, extra time to hit performance targets and regular meetings to discuss progress.
Claims can usually be avoided if you promote positive mental health in the workplace, take the time to understand mental health, familiarise yourself with your legal obligations in this area, and deal with mental health issues appropriately.
Launch of our Flintshire HR Lunch Club.
Steven Davies, Employment Law Solicitor, will be discussing mental health and employee wellbeing in the workplace at the launch of our new free Flintshire HR Lunch Club Event at Theatr Clwyd in Flintshire on Tuesday 24 September 2019 at 12.30pm to 2.00pm, click here to book your tickets now.