Firms fail to halt rise in stress cases

More
than 40 per cent of employers have reported an increase in stress cases over
the past 12 months, according to exclusive research by Personnel Today and IRS
Employment Review.

The
survey of 220 HR professionals is published almost a year after the Court of
Appeal issued guidelines which were expected to make it harder for employees to
bring successful compensation claims for work-related stress.

The
guidance states that if employers offer staff a confidential counselling
service with access to treatment it is unlikely they will be found in breach of
their duty of care.

Under
the guidance employees are expected to raise with their employer any concerns
they have over stress if they are to have any chance of receiving compensation.

The
survey reveals two-thirds of employers already have confidential Employee
Assistance Programmes (EAP) in place and half have completed risk assessments
for stress.

More
than four in 10 employers with an EAP believe it will meet their legal
obligations in combating stress at work.

Professor
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Umist, said
the survey showed that simply having an EAP will not protect employers from
stress claims if they don’t try and address the underlying causes such as
bullying or a long hours culture. See 4 Feb issue of IRS Employment Review for
full findings.

www.irsemploymentreview.com

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