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What Are Mental Health Days At Work – Should You Offer Them?

A mental health day at work can refer to a day of absence taken by one of your employees due to a mental health related issue.

However, it can also refer to a day that you dedicate to raise mental health awareness in the workplace.

Both are important.

In UK employment law, there is no difference between needing to take time off work for a mental health problem compared with a physical condition. This means that technically your employees don’t need a mental health day – they just need to take a ‘sick day’.

According to an article published by HR Magazine, employees take four mental health days a year. The research also suggested that employees report physical ailments rather than citing mental health issues as a reason for time off work.

This illustrates the importance of establishing an open and non-judgemental work culture so that employees feel safe to tell the truth about why they’re taking time off work. Honesty is the best policy – and if the employee in question cites work-related issues as the cause of their mental health issues, it’s important to be able to discuss this and make any necessary changes or actions to help resolve the issue.

So, should you offer mental health days at work?

The short answer is no, you don’t need to offer ‘mental health days’ at work. You just need to adopt a supportive attitude towards those who need to take time off for mental health problems and treat them no differently to how you would with a physical issue such as a broken leg or flu.

At ABC Life Support, we want to empower workplaces to handle mental health related sick days better. With our consultancy support we can help train you in how to be a more proactive and supportive workplace. You can enrol onto one of our mental health at work courses to learn more.

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