H7. Mental Health Adjustments

“We will embed the principles of the Mental Health Workplace Adjustments Guide (developed through the Responsibility Deal’s health at work network) within HR procedures to ensure that people with mental health conditions are managed at work in the best way possible with reasonable flexibilities and workplace adjustments.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve, and why it is important

This pledge sets out to improve the workplace support employers provide for people with a mental health condition.  It asks employers to embed some basics principles for making workplace adjustments for those with mental health conditions within their HR procedures.

A recent survey found that managers feel that they need more appropriate training and support at work to effectively manage staff experiencing mental health problems.  The advice for employers on workplace adjustments for mental health conditions, developed by the Responsibility Deal’s health at work network, sets out some simple and cost-effective workplace adjustments to allow people with mental health conditions to remain productive in the labour market and live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Benefits to public health

Increasingly, evidence supports the view that work can be good for people’s health and wellbeing.  Working can reverse the harmful effects of prolonged sickness absence and long-term unemployment.  Keeping people with mental health conditions in work and getting those on long-term sickness absence back into work can improve the health of the working age population.

Benefits to employers/employees

The cost of mental health to business is just over £1,000 per employee per year, or almost £26 billion across the UK economy.  Effective management of mental health at work can save around 30% of these costs.  Yet employer awareness of mental health issues at work in the UK is extremely poor.  Most senior managers vastly underestimate the scale of the problem and most think it will never affect their workplaces.

How you can deliver this pledge

The mental health adjustment guidance sets out some simple and cost-effective workplace adjustments to allow people with mental health conditions to remain in contact with the labour market and live healthy and productive lives.  As employers, you can promote the guide’s principles within your organisation and embed these principles within your HR policies.  You can do this by:

  • Ensuring staff are aware of the guide’s principles, particularly those with line-management responsibilities.  This could be delivered, for example, by including a module within existing line manager training programmes or running a seminar.
  • Adopting the guide’s principles into HR policy in a way that is suitable for the organisation – if there is no current organisational policy.
  • Making reasonable work and/or workplace adjustments for employees that will enable them to remain in work or return to work more quickly.
  • Ensuring any existing HR policy for managing mental health conditions is aligned with the level of care and support recommended by the guides.
  • Making all staff aware of your HR policy. This could be delivered, for example, through staff induction programmes; an awareness campaign using any existing in-house communications – intranet, staff magazine; or, where appropriate, training sessions or seminars.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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