Sir Hector Sants Stress at Work Absence Should Set an Example

Sir Hector Sants Stress at Work Absence Should Set an Example

The news of Sir Hector Sants Barclays’ head of global compliance taking a leave of absence is a big step forward in speaking out and getting help with stress at work. Although in some workplaces it is still very much a taboo and can leave people who choose to take a leave of absence demonised or deemed unable to cope with their jobs – this problem needs to be faced head on.
The news of Sir Hector Sants stress at work illness can now be used as an example to illustrate that we are not super human there is a breaking point and help is out there for those who need it.
As we have previously reported figures of employees being signed off with stress at work have grown the Lancashire Telegraph reported that 92 Lancashire police officers are off with stress at work related illnesses and an anonymous whistle blower lifted the lid of stress levels and increasing pressure in local government.
The Health and Safety Executive reported that in 2011/12 there were 428000 cases of stress at work and I estimate this has only grown.
These statistics and reports highlight what we already knew that stress at work is increasing. There is rising pressure due to the current climate and because of this employment can hang over people’s head like the sword of Damocles as referred to in the expose on the local government people are afraid to say no and will take on more than they can cope with.
There is a fear that those who do speak up and say ‘No’ to increasing work demands or bad practice by employers are often ostracised or otherwise targeted by management. Whilst this can happen an employee puts themselves in a much stronger position legally if they document clearly and in writing the difficulties they are experiencing at work and how this is affecting their health.
Just because this is happening does not mean it should become the norm if you believe that you can’t cope physically or mentally and it is having a detrimental affect on your life then you need to speak out and say that you are suffering with stress at work. Your employer only has a duty to take action once they are aware that there is a problem.
Sir Hector Sants has done the right thing by taking a step back if his health is suffering as a result of work related stress; of course I am sure that financially he is able to take this step. For most however this is not an option and so the only way to prevent long term illness is to have open and frank discussions with your employer to resolve the problems.
Stress can affect you mentally and physically and your day-to-day life. For many the early signs of stress are subtle but the long term affect can be devastating. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated legislation it is an employer’s duty to ensure the health welfare and safety of an employee if they are not doing this and you are feeling like you may be suffering from stress at work you need to speak out and talk to someone.
Written by
Richard Coulthard

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