It is estimated that stress, depression and anxiety cause more working days to be lost than any other work-related illness. However, with the right support people with a range of mental health issues can and do stay in work. You can create good working conditions for all employees – which will help to protect the wellbeing and motivation of your staff.
Employers have duties under legislation to make sure that people with disabilities are not treated less favourably than others in the workplace. You may want to check your own legal duties on the ACAS website.
The Equality Act
The Equality Act was brought in on October 2010. It affects the recruitment process especially around the use of health questionnaires before an offer of work is made. ACAS has produced a guide to the Equality Act for employers. The Equality and Human Rights Commission also have a guide to the Equality Act.
Access to Work Fund
The Access to Work Fund helps with the extra costs of employing someone who has a disability. Someone may need a support worker or help with travel or equipment for example. The amount an employer has to contribute towards these costs depends on a range of factors such as how long you have employed the person, how many other employees you have in your workplace and so on. In some case the service is free. The Direct Gov website has information about the Access to Work Fund.
Help for employers
Information and support is available for employers to help ensure that employees are able to work within a healthy and supportive environment. In turn, this helps reduce sickness absence and increases productivity.
Health, Work and Well-being
You can find out more about mental health through the Time to Challenge website which has information about mental health for employers.
Health, Work and Well-being is a government-led initiative which aims to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of working age people. Their website contains free information to help employers support their staff.
You may also find the Centre for Mental Health’s reports on employment helpful.
There are vocational advisers who can help with people with disabilities find and retain work. You may be able to, with your employee’s agreement, refer to these initiatives so that the employee can get any help they need. Look at our section on employment and vocational services to find out more.
Led and supported by employers, the MINDFUL EMPLOYER® initiative is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work and providing support for businesses in recruiting and retaining staff. Since MINDFUL EMPLOYER® was launched in 2004, 583 employers have signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health.
Being a MINDFUL EMPLOYER®:
- shows others and your own staff that you are a good employer
- expresses your corporate social responsibility
- reduces recruitment and training costs
- helps towards complying with legislation (e.g. DDA & HSE)
- reduces sickness levels
- enhances customer service
- improves productivity
- makes you more attractive to people with mental health issues and others
- helps you retain staff who have experienced discrimination in the past
- makes yours a healthier workplace.
The Mindful Employer website provides a wide range of information on employing people who experience mental ill health. This includes information about the law, good practice, managing mental health, training and other organisations which can help.
Local employer networks
A key theme of MINDFUL EMPLOYER® is to enable contact between employers - to share expertise and issues of common concern. These networks are open to any employer, large, medium or small, public, private or voluntary sector and to all disciplines such as HR, occupational health, business directors, line managers and so on.
Find out more about becoming a MINDFUL EMPLOYER® and enabling mental health at work by going to the website or contacting the South East regional contact, Lynn Marchant at:
Creating Bridges Laurel House, 41 Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent
Tel: 01227 597111 x 254