Stress and mental ill health main causes of absence


Stress and mental ill health remain the main causes of absence, according to research by group risk industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).

Its Group risk employer research, which surveyed more than 500 employers and 1,000 employees, found that nearly half (48%) of respondents cite stress and mental ill health as a main cause of absence, while it is the cause of 41% of respondents’ mid-term absences.

Only one-fifth (19%) of respondents find stress and mental ill health a major cause of short-term absence.

The research also found that home and family issues are one of the other top causes of short-term absence, with 33% of respondents highlighting this as an issue. This can be a contributory factor in stress-related absence.

However, the research found that only 10% of employer respondents have line managers trained to spot signs of stress and mental health conditions.

The research also found:

  • 32% of respondents have put in place a flexible-working strategy to reduce absence and manage attendance.
  • 35% of respondents said maintaining a good work-life balance is their top health and wellbeing priority.
  • 64% put this in their top three health and wellbeing priorities.

Katherine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “Stress and mental ill health are clearly a thorn in the side of organisations in terms of the levels of absence rates, but it is evident that employers recognise the importance of early intervention and managing a healthy work-life balance, both of which can go some way to supporting staff wellbeing.

“However, it is important not to underestimate the impact these issues can have when they do hit, and organisations need to recognise that management of this should be at the top of their list.”