Stress Management Policy

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1 Level 3 - H&S Policy Structure Stress Management Policy BACKGROUND The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define stress as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them. There is an important difference between pressure and stress ; pressure does not necessarily give rise to stress and pressure can be motivating. Whilst acknowledging that pressure and stress may also be caused by a range of issues external to the workplace, the University s prime responsibility is to address work related stress. A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 2011 found that stress had become the most common cause of long term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees. The Labour Force Survey estimates that during the 3-year period around 400,000 people in the UK at any one time experienced work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill. This represents about 38% of all work-related illnesses. LEGISLATION Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Equality Act 2010 Employers are responsible for ensuring the health safety and welfare at work of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities. Employers must assess the risks to the health, including mental health, of their employees that they may be exposed to while they are at work, and must put measures in place to minimise those risks. This includes minimising the risk of stress-related illness or injury to employees. Employers must not discriminate against a person who has, or has had, a mental health impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry our normal day-to-day activities. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to allow employees who have suffered the effects of stress or mental health to continue or return to work and not be placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to persons who do not have, or have not had, such impairment. Stress and Mental Health Policy 1

2 UNIVERSITY POLICY This Stress Management Policy is consistent with, and provides support for, the aims of the People Strategy, the Health and Wellbeing Policy, and the Dignity and Respect Policy. The University of Bath is committed to providing a working environment and management practices that promote health and wellbeing. The University will provide an environment in which staff and students who suffer the effects of stress receive suitable support and adjustments to their work or study circumstances to allow them to achieve their full potential. The University will provide suitable training to provide managers at all levels with the skills to proactively manage stress and be able to work with their staff to balance individual with service needs in a sympathetic way. University staff will prevent, so far as is within their control, those circumstances which may be detrimental to mental health and wellbeing. The University will put in place a suitable and sufficient process for the management of stress. Where cases of stress related illness are referred to the Health, Safety & Environment Service as part of the stress management process, an assessment will be made and draft report produced. This report will not be circulated until consent has been provided by the relevant employee. If such consent is not given in the period identified within the process, the case will be closed in which case any implementation of control measures will be based on the information already available. The University recognises that any formal Human Resources procedure may have a detrimental impact on the level of pressure felt by an individual. As such the HR procedure will be expedited to ensure that the level of stress is minimised. The Stress Management Process will not continue or commence until such time as the HR procedure is complete. RESPONSIBILITIES Students Are strongly encouraged to inform the University as soon as possible after diagnosis, if they are suffering from a mental health or stressful condition that affects or is likely to affect their ability to carry out the studies for which they have enrolled, so that reasonable adjustments and appropriate support can be identified and implemented. Are strongly encouraged to report to Student Services, any person about whom they have concerns with respect to their mental wellbeing. Stress and Mental Health Policy 2

3 Employees Will take reasonable care of their own mental health and be mindful of how other persons may be affected by their acts or omissions at work. Will be mindful of the principles of the Dignity & Respect at Work Policy especially in respect of staff or students who may have mental health difficulties. Are strongly encouraged to inform the University if they are suffering from a mental health condition that appears to be long-term and is affecting their ability to carry out day to day tasks, including memory, learning and maintaining effective working relationships, so that the University can make reasonable adjustments to enable them to continue working to their full potential. Are strongly encouraged to be proactive in identifying occasions when they may be suffering from mental health problems, including stress, either workrelated, or due to external factors, and alert their line-manager to these where appropriate and in order to comply with their duty of care. Will maintain regular contact with the University usually via their line manager when absent from work due to stress related illness. Will co-operate with the University s stress management process. Will cooperate with any request made by the University aimed at helping them return to their full role after a period of ill health. This includes attendance at meetings to discuss stress management or to undertake a stress risk assessment. Are strongly encouraged to meet with the external Occupational Health Service or other medical practitioner upon request in order to enable the University to manage any stress related issues as quickly as possible. Will discuss any reasonable adjustments that could be made to assist them in performing their role. Will co-operate with any agreed measures put in place to support them in their role, and especially to reduce stress or the risk of stress-related illhealth. Are encouraged to take advantage of appropriate opportunities for counselling, and for training when recommended, including making use of the Employee Assistance Programme and other Services within the University setting. Stress and Mental Health Policy 3

4 Line Managers Line managers have an important role in assisting employers to proactively address work related stress, and in doing so reduce the likelihood of employees suffering from work related stress. Will carry out stress risk assessments for their team and members of it using the templates provided which focus on the HSE s six management standards. Will put in place suitable control measures to minimise the risk of stressrelated illness for members of their team. Will ensure that their team members are consulted over all aspects of their employment which may cause stress or otherwise impact on their mental health, especially when changes affecting them are planned. Will consider whether stress may be a factor in relation to frequent or longterm absenteeism for individual employees. Will manage stress and mental health absence in accordance with the Sickness Absence Policy. Will manage stress related illness in accordance with the Stress Management Policy and process. Will recognise that employees may have experiences in their personal lives that may make them vulnerable to pressures at work and which may have an influence on their work performance e.g. health issues or personal circumstances. Will, where appropriate, and with the employee s permission where relevant, discuss stress-related issues with their Human Resources Manager or the University Health Safety & Environment Service. Will familiarise themselves with the Dignity & Respect Policy concerning bullying and harassment and ensure that employees are aware that this is not tolerated by the University. University Health and Safety Committee Will monitor the implementation of the policy Will monitor factors that might indicate patterns of stress-related issues e.g. in particular areas or staff groups Senior Managers including Deans of Faculties/Schools Will actively implement and promote the principles and behaviours contributing to positive wellbeing. Stress and Mental Health Policy 4

5 Will ensure the engagement of management at all levels in the importance of managing stress and mental health issues. Will ensure that the identified proactive initiatives, behaviours, systems and policies are embedded in the culture of the organisation. Will ensure that the strategy is driven via collective responsibility at Senior Management level. Heads of Departments and Directors of Professional Services Will ensure that bullying, harassment and discrimination are not tolerated in their Department. Will ensure that line managers have carried out effective stress risk assessments which are monitored regularly, and that any recommendations are being implemented and adequately resourced. Will plan for stress-related risks when embarking on significant organisational change. Will ensure effective communication at all levels where there are organisational and /or procedural changes which could give rise to increased levels of stress in the workplace. Will ensure that the confidentiality of an employee s mental health is maintained. Will ensure that confidential cases of stress related illness are referred to the University Health, Safety & Environment Service via Human Resources in line with the University s stress management process HR Managers and HR Advisors Will follow the stress management process and will liaise with the University Health, Safety & Environment Service for all aspects of stress management Will provide support to employees experiencing stress and advise them and their line-managers of the support available. Will guide and support line managers in carrying out stress risk assessments and in putting in place suitable control measures. Will refer stress cases to the University Health, Safety & Environment Service where the line manager has been unable to resolve the situation or where specific advice is required. The University Health, Safety & Environment Service Will review and revise this policy biennially or after any significant change whichever is sooner. Stress and Mental Health Policy 5

6 Will ensure that a minimum of two professional advisors within the team are competent in terms of stress management and mental health awareness. Will provide suitable management training in all matters relating to this policy. Will liaise with Human Resources Managers and Advisers as necessary to ensure stress related illness is dealt with promptly and in accordance with the stress management process. Will make suitable arrangements with employees, identified to them as in need of additional support, to ensure they are given the opportunity to identify the cause of their stress in order for suitable control measures to be identified in accordance with the stress management process. Will where relevant, prepare a written report with recommendations for action to help the line manager to implement control measures intended to reduce the risk of stress and enable the employee to continue in or return to their role. Will monitor the implementation of the recommendations. Will make referrals to the Occupational Health Service as necessary. Will provide professional advice in respect of stress management and its process to employees of the University. Student Services Will provide a range of confidential services to support student mental health. FURTHER INFORMATION There are guidance notes and further information available on the Staying Safe and Well website Health and Safety Executive web site Stress and Mental Health Policy 6

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