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Most employers offer no stress help to employees

Thursday 4th August 2011
Research by Legal & General using Department for Work and Pensions statistics and reports has revealed that less than a fifth of employers are taking adequate steps to provide support for stressed employees in the workplace, despite stress being a leading cause of workplace absences.

The new DWP Survey, "Health and well-being at work: a survey of employers" has shown that only 17% of employers have any form of stress management advice and support in place.

Legal & General have previously looked into short and long term absences in the workplace showing that:

Short-term stress-related absences topped 42,000 in the three months to December last year;

Of the 593,930 people claiming the Employment and Support Allowance, 234,670 (39%) are doing so for mental and behavioural disorders.

Furthermore, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) absence management annual survey report recently highlighted that stress is the second biggest cause of short-term absences and one of the leading causes of all long-term absences for non-manual workers.

Legal & General's analysis has been conducted at a time when the government is undertaking a review on the way it handles absence in the workplace. The review, announced by the Department of Work and Pensions, is led by Dame Carol Black and David Frost.

It ties in with recent figures released by Legal & General showing that its Group Income Protection, Workplace Recovery, can markedly increase return to work rates.

The protection has been particularly effective at providing specialist treatment to employees who are absent from work because of stress. Where appropriate they are offered between eight and 20 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) from CBT Services Limited, a highly-respected provider with 68% of employees being able to return to work within a year.

The figures show that specialist support can help employers and employees. CBT has commented on how it works with people who are dealing with mental health issues every day - who tell them how important this approach can be in helping them get back into the workplace.

Diane Buckley, Managing Director of Legal & General Group Income Protection, said: "These figures show that employers should ensure that good quality support is available in the workplace to help employees. It is concerning that 83% of employers have no provisions in place to deal with stress-related illnesses.

"Legal & General has developed an effective Group Income Protection package that offers tailored support to absentees' many of whom are suffering from stress-related conditions."

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Mike Jones

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