Stress-related mental health is one of the most common causes of long-term sickness absence, according to research by Group Risk Development (Grid).
The research, conducted among 500 employers, found that stress-related mental health was the second most common cause, cited by 15% of respondents, behind home and family issues, cited by 20%.
The problem of stress seems to be worse in the public sector, with 27% of respondents citing this as their main cause of absence compared with 13% in the private sector.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “Stress is often overlooked as a cause of long-term absence from work, compared to acute medical conditions such as heart attack or cancer.
“These figures prove just how big a problem absence through stress is for employers, and provide a timely reminder for businesses to take action over what is often a preventable condition.
“In times of increased economic pressure it is important for employers to consider firstly the wellbeing of their employees and what wider implications are suggested by high levels of stress or other mental illness, and secondly what provisions they have in place to ensure both the employee and the employer are adequately protected in case of long-term absence.”
Read more articles on long-term sickness absence