45% consider mental ill health a major cause of long-term absence

Almost half (45%) of respondents consider stress and mental ill health a major cause of long-term absence among their employees, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).

Katharine Moxham

Its Group risk employer research study, which surveyed 500 UK employers, found that 25% of employer respondents also considered stress and mental ill health a major cause of short-term absence.

The research found that 36% of respondents cited managing stress and mental ill health as their top health and wellbeing issue, up 5% on last year.

A further quarter (25%) thought that maintaining a good work-life balance among employees was a top priority.

More than a third (40%) of respondents record both the primary and secondary causes of absence because it is easier to measure the impact mental health plays from the outset.

Katharine Moxham (pictured), spokesperson for Grid, said: “Where once stress and mental ill health were commonly overlooked as a key health risk for organisations (compared to acute medical conditions such as heart attack or cancer), employers appear to be taking note.

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“These figures prove just how big an impact stress and mental ill health can have on employers when managing the wellbeing of their organisation and the implications for absence rates if left unchecked.

“It is encouraging to see that more and more employers are recognising that stress-related absence is a major issue. Often, the condition keeping people away from work is not necessarily the same as the condition that caused the initial absence.”