Mental ill health is the second largest cause of time lost due to sickness absence in UK organisations.
Stress; depression and anxiety account for more than 50% of the mental health problems which are keeping employees off work. The New directions in managing employee absence report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Active Health Partners analysed the real absence records of more than 30,000 employees working across 40 different organisations.
Musculo-skeletal conditions were the number one cause of time lost due to sickness absence.
The report also found that employees take on average 21 days for each mental health-related sickness absence spell; the average length of time off for an employee suffering depression is 30 days for each sickness absence spell; the average length of time off work work for someone suffering from stress is 21 days for each sickness absence spell and the average length of time off for an individual suffering anxiety is 21 days for each sickness absence spell.
Ben Willmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, said: “This research shows how important it is for managers and HR practitioners to be aware of the signs of mental ill health so that they can take action early and provide support before the individual’s condition deteriorates to the point they go off on long-term sick leave.”
He added that the government has a part to play in providing measures, such as tax incentives, to help more employers give their staff access to cost-effective occupational health services.