1 in 4 employers have noticed increase in sick leave due to mental health, survey finds.
Toronto, March 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to a new survey, the workplace stigma around mental health appears to have been lifted, with 43% of employers stating that they’ve witnessed people talking more about their mental health in the last 12 months.
However only 12% of employees have confided in their bosses, and one in seven of those who did speak to their boss said that nothing was done.
A quarter of survey respondents say they have noticed an increase in sick leave due to mental health but, despite that, 90% of businesses do not offer mental health days to employees.
And while 94% of employers said they’re available to help staff who are struggling with mental health concerns, the data suggests that the support being offered by employers doesn’t match up with what employees want or need.
Two thirds of employers said they are confident their employees would talk to them and disclose mental health concerns, but less than 10% of bosses said that they are comfortable discussing their own personal mental health.
The survey of 79,000 businesses across four countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the UK – was conducted by Peninsula Group, a global employment law, HR, and health & safety advisory and consultancy firm, to take a mental health temperature check and see if increased financial pressures and the cost-of-living crisis are having an impact on the mental health of the workforce.
Other key findings include:
- Employers in Canada and Australia are more likely to take time off work due to mental health than those in the UK or Ireland.
- More than two-thirds of bosses in all four countries are comfortable discussing employees’ mental health concerns.
- 46% of UK employers have seen an increase in the number of people in their workplace experiencing issues with mental health.
- Canadian employers are more likely to offer mental health days in addition to personal leave entitlement than any other. 23% already offer them with another 15% planning to introduce them within the next 12 months.
- In comparison, 85% of employers in the UK, 81% in Ireland and 67% in Australia do not offer mental health days or plan to introduce them in the next 12 months.
- Ireland is seeing an increase in the number of people taking time off work to care for family members with mental health issues; it was the only one of the four countries surveyed where this ranked in the top three answers.
Peninsula Canada Chief Executive Officer, Darren Chadwick says “Nearly half (48%) of Canadian employees have experienced at least one work-related mental health risk factor. It should be clear to any employer that mental health is an area they need to take very seriously. And that message seems to be getting through.
“It’s encouraging to see that so many employers are comfortable and willing to have conversations about both their own and their employee’s mental health. It comes as no surprise the significant impact that recent world events have had with many struggling to adapt to the “new normal” – and business owners, especially SMBs, are no different. The pressure, and cost-of-living crisis as well as rising energy costs are having a major impact on the overall business.
“Although people are comfortable speaking more openly about their mental health and prioritizing work/life balance, it’s surprising to see less than 10% of Canadian employers who have used EAP services from those who have experienced mental health issues over the last 12 months. Rather than utilizing company services, employers turned to family and friends for support.
“Employers need to remember that while they are offering support to employees, the service is there to support everyone, regardless of seniority.”
“We can also see an element of robustness within the survey responses, with more than half of Irish employers reportedly seeing no increase in the number of people experiencing mental health issues in their workplace. In case of Canada and Australia, 44% employers have also seen no increase, while only 38% of UK employers can say the same. It’s clear that there is still significant work to be done in this area. But the willingness of people to speak about mental health concerns and a change in workplace attitude towards them are certainly major steps in the right direction.”
Notes to editor
Full survey data is available to download at https://peninsulacanada.com/blog/employer-advice/employee-mental-health-survey/
Interviews are available, please contact:
Sally Abu-Samra – Public Relations Specialist
T: 647 363 7978 | E: [email protected]