Stress at work claims are on the rise

According to one of the UK’s leading providers of income protection, Unum, many employers are failing to implement simple procedures to assist staff who are experiencing stress related conditions.

Unum estimate that around half of all sickness absence is due to stress related claims and these incidents have risen by 51 per cent since 1995.

It has been predicted that 53 per cent of employees have experienced stress in the workplace and with growing absenteeism due to stress leading to the loss of 6.5 million working days each year, Unum is advising employers to initiate simple management practices to reverse this rising trend.

Eugene McCormack, Marketing Director, Unum said, “Employers have to address this situation as it can have a serious impact on staff motivation and retention, not to mention the increasing threat of litigation.”

Pressures at work can lead to problems outside of work. A recent survey by the Institute of Management found that six out of ten managers felt that excessive hours adversely affected their morale and productivity, whilst seven out of ten said it affected their relationships with partners and dependants. Two-thirds said that they felt their health also suffered.

The cost of absenteeism is rising and it can cost British business up to 16 per cent of their payroll each year. Stress is a factor that few companies can afford to ignore, say Unum, and with fewer than one in ten employees currently providing any form of stress coaching Unum is offering the following advice to employers to assist with identifying stress related issues and conditions in the workforce:

  • Back to work interview - following an absence from work, employers should interview the employee and allow the opportunity to speak frankly;

  • Counseling service - offer an anonymous counseling service for an employee who doesn’t want to speak to their line manager about their concerns;

  • Time away from work - presenteeism should not be a factor. Monitoring the time emails are sent can help identify employees who are constantly staying late.

Eugene McCormack, Marketing Director, Unum, said: “More and more people are suffering stress related problems in and out of work. There must be a commitment from employers across the UK to combat this growing trend. One in five employees now admit to taking time off work due to stress and one in thirteen are consulting their GP’s about the condition.” (CG/SP)

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