Recession 'leads to more time off'
Posted Thu, 23 Feb 2012
Employers must seek to reduce work-related stress during austere times, as the number of staff taking time off work due to stress is known to increase by 25%.
That is according to a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Nottingham and the University of Ulster. The team found that work-related stress increased by 40% during an economic downturn.
The number of staff taking time off due to job stress grew by a quarter, while total time off because of these types of psychological problems increases by more than a third during an economic slump. The study, among tens of thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland, found one in four workers experienced work-related stress in times of recession.
For these reasons, employers should seek to "reduce work-related stress during austere economic times". Jonathan Houdmont, the study's lead author, said those who do "are likely to experience lower staff absence and greater productivity".
Sarah Page, health and safety officer at the Prospect union, commented: "This is an issue where government, employers and unions can make a difference by working together.
"Employers have a duty to ensure workers' health, safety and welfare at work, and that includes mental health. It shouldn't be about trying to mop up the mess when it's too late, but about introducing preventive measures and support networks."
The study is published in the scientific journal, Occupational Medicine.
Copyright Press Association 2012