Stress-related absences increase

A quarter of employees have taken time off work due to stress in the last year, research by Friends Life has found.

The survey of 2,000 people revealed that 23% had called in sick due to stress, compared to 16.5% in the previous 2 years.

Money was the biggest cause of stress for women whereas men cited work and money equally.

Important findings:

  • 40% experienced a mental health problem in the last year
  • 25% took a sick day that they said was for a physical problem when really it was for a mental health issue
  • a third of 18-24-year-olds took time off because of stress, more than any other age group.

Anna Spender, head of group protection proposition at Friends Life, said:

"Stress levels are clearly rising and it's important for employers to be aware of the strain their workforce may be feeling. The financial cost of stress is huge, and our research only takes into account the cost of paying people who take a day off.

"If you add in the lower productivity which stress can cause through presenteeism, where employees come into work when they really should be taking time off, then that figure would be even higher."

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