Managing employee stress
Helping your organisation to deal with stress in the workplace
As an employer you have a legal duty of care towards your employees. One of your legal duties is to assess the risk of work related stress and to take appropriate measures to control this.
Stress related illnesses are a hot topic at the moment and regularly makes the headlines. The Health & Safety Executive (“HSE”) statistics estimates that 10.4 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2011/12. As such the costs to businesses are huge.
For the above reasons employers should consider, and be seen to consider, the impact of stress in the workplace. At Ironmonger Curtis LLP our employment law solicitors are experts in advising and assisting with stress in the workplace.
If you are looking for general information about employee stress read our information on Stress in the Workplace.
If you an employer looking for help, we have two services to offer:
- Organisation wide: strategies to reduce stress; and
- Managing an individual employee who is suffering from stress
Organisation-wide: strategies to reducing levels of work related stress?
There are a number of ways that employers can help reduce the risks of workplace stress. Our employment lawyers can help with:
- Carrying out a stress audit. We can devise a confidential questionnaire (backed up with one to one meetings if necessary) to investigate and monitor current stress levels;
- Using return to work interviews after sickness absence, to identify any stress-related reason for absence or poor performance. We can assist with providing a template that details the relevant questions that you should ask;
- Training managers to recognise symptoms of stress and how to manage stress. We can provide on-site training sessions on this and other areas;
- Training managers and employees in positive management styles;
- Designing a stress policy. This policy should clearly set out how an employee suffering from work related stress can raise their concerns. The policy should also set out how the employer will deal with such concerns. We can provide this and other policies for a fixed fee.
Managing individual employees who are suffering from stress
Stress in itself is normal, and we all suffer from stress from time to time. However, stress can lead to illness if it is not managed properly. Once an employee has begun to suffer from stress related illnesses such as anxiety related disorders, depression, work-related depression, or post traumatic stress disorder the stakes are raised for both the employee and the employer. From the employee’s perspective, they become at a far higher risk of long-term illness or even catastrophic breakdowns which can lead to many years of ill health. From the employer’s perspective they are “on notice” that the employee is “at risk” and they must take action to help the employee.
It is important that you act and that you are seen to be acting.
We can help you:
- Assess the employee and find out exactly what is going on. What are the causes, what can be done in the short term to help? We can help you manage what can be a very difficult meeting and ensure that you are not missing valuable information;
- Manage the process of getting a medical report from a senior workplace psychiatrist or psychologist (a consultant if appropriate). Such reports can be covered the legislation and we can help you with this;
- Arrange a workplace assessment to ensure short term help is given to the employee;
- Consider if the employee is disabled under the Equality Act, and if so ensure that your statutory obligations are complied with;
- Advise on whether the employee should be working or not;
- Advise if necessary on absence management and ultimately dismissal if necessary.
We would highly recommend you implement a stress policy. We can do this for you fro £50.00 plus VAT – check out our company handbook pages.
A stress policy should set out the actions the employer will take to protect its employees from suffering from work related stress. The policy should also explain how the employer will deal with any problems that may arise.
An effective anti-stress policy should provide advice on the measures it takes to monitor and reduce the effects of stress at work.
Other policies important for dealing with stress in the workplace
As well as the anti-stress policy Ironmonger Curtis can provide a number of other policies that assist when dealing with workplace stress. These policies include;
- Anti-bullying and harassment policy,
- Sickness absence policy,
- Grievance procedure,
- Flexible working policy.
More information can be found on the company handbooks page.
Can Ironmonger Curtis employment Solicitors help you?
Call our employment lawyers on 0114 253 6559 for more information. We can advise you on the best way to handle stress in the workplace. Our employment solicitors are trained experts who have years of experience advising on all areas of employment law.