STRESS MANAGEMENT AND WORKING TIME HR28

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1 STRESS MANAGEMENT AND WORKING TIME HR28 Applies to: ALL EMPLOYEES AND OTHER WORKERS Date of Board Approval: March 2011 Review Date: March 2014

2 Stress Management and Working Time Introduction 1 The Authority is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all its employees and other workers. This is one of its statutory obligations. Whilst some pressure at work and outside is a normal part of life and keeps us motivated, excessive pressure can lead to an adverse reaction. It is this adverse reaction which leads to stress and possible detriments to health. This policy sets out the steps the Authority will take to identify, minimise and control these risks. 2 The policy also sets out how the Authority will manage working time and support employees involved in an incident, complaint or claim from an external source. 3 This policy applies to all employees and other workers. Equality Impact Assessment 4 As part of its development, this policy and its impact on equality have been reviewed in consultation with trade union representatives in line with the Authority s Equality Scheme and Equal Opportunities Policy. The purpose of the assessment is to minimise and if possible remove any disproportionate impact on employees on the grounds of race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation or religious or other belief. 5 Stress can lead to or exacerbate long-term mental health conditions and other clinical conditions, which can be covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. In these circumstances reasonable adjustments will need to be considered, after advice from Occupational Health. No other detriment was identified. Good Corporate Citizen 6 Being a good corporate citizen requires the Authority to take positive steps to support the health and well being of its workers and to involve them in discussions about issues which are important to their working lives. This policy sets out the Authority s approaches to minimising the impact of stressful situations. Stress 7 Stress can arise because of a variety of factors at work and elsewhere and different events and experiences create different levels of stress in different people. However, as far as work-related stress is concerned, the Health and Safety Executive s (HSE) Management Standards for Work Related Stress 1

3 (MSWRS) identify six potential stressors, which, if properly managed can reduce work-related stress: Demands issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment Control how much say the worker has in the way they carry out their duties Support such as the encouragement and resources provided by the organisation, line managers and colleagues Relationships includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour Role whether people understand their role in the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles Change how small and large organisational changes are managed and communicated 8 The periodic employee survey will include questions based on these potential stressors and the HSE stress indicator tool to assess levels across the organisation. The outcome of these exercises will be considered by the Board, the Audit and Risk Committee and in consultation with employee representatives to identify mechanisms to improve levels of stress in the Authority if required. Responsibilities 9 Individual workers will: acknowledge their own responsibility to take care of their own health and safety and that of those around them raise and discuss issues of concern with their line manager before they become too serious or, if discussing these issues with their line manager is not appropriate, another manager or the Director of Human Resources take part in initiatives to manage stress familiarise themselves with this policy 10 Line managers will monitor team members for signs of undue pressure, such as unusual behaviour or higher levels of absence, and discuss them with individuals in a confidential and supportive manner listen to concerns when they are raised in a supportive manner and collaborate with workers to address them seek to ensure that individuals are not working excessive hours and are taking their full holiday entitlement hold regular team and individual one to one meetings seek to ensure individuals have the knowledge and skills they need to perform the requirements of their post effectively conduct risk assessments, involving the individual affected, and implement the outcomes within the Authority s jurisdiction 2

4 identify training requirements for their team members to ensure the effective implementation of this policy manage the performance of team members in a fair and consistent manner keep their teams up to date and consult them about changes ensure that bullying and harassment is not tolerated within their team and take action when inappropriate behaviour comes to their attention remind employees about counselling services when appropriate refer employees to Occupational Health if appropriate 11 Senior managers (those who manage people who manage people) will: monitor and listen to issues raised with them by managers and take appropriate steps to address them 12 The Director of Human Resources will: ensure processes are in place for concerns to be raised about stressful and potentially stressful situations ensure occupational health and confidential counselling services are in place to provide support to workers give advice to managers on this policy and training requirements monitor sickness absence as a result of stress and report to the Board and employee representatives monitor the effectiveness of this policy with employee representatives, including trade union safety representatives at the JNC 13 The Risk Management team will: co-ordinate reported incidents involving stress and cross reference to sickness reporting Report issues to the Health, Safety and Risk committee for consideration, monitoring and further recommendations to reduce stress and promote a safe and healthy working environment Working Time 14 Properly managing working hours, rest between periods of work and holiday are a key approach to managing stress. The Working Time Regulations provide the statutory framework for working hours, rest and paid leave for workers, which should not be exceeded. The regulations provide for: A maximum working week of an average of 48 hours over a 17-week period. Workers may opt-out of this limit, but the Authority will not require anyone to do so. Workers are required to advise their manager if they have a job outside the Authority, which means their total average working hours exceed 48 in any 17-week period, as they would need to sign an opt-out; A minimum of 11 hours of rest in each 24-hour period; 3

5 A minimum of 35 hours of uninterrupted rest (including the 11-hour daily rest period) in each 7-day period, or 70-hours in each 14-day period if this is not possible; A minimum unpaid break of 20 minutes in a working period of six hours or longer; this break may not be taken at the beginning or the end of the working period; A minimum of the equivalent of 5.6 working weeks of paid holiday each year. NHS entitlements to paid leave exceed these statutory minimums. Complaints, traumatic incidents and claims 15 The Authority acknowledges that being involved in a traumatic incident or in a complaint or a claim by an external party can be stressful. Employees affected will be supported by their manager and have access to the employee assistance programme, even if they are suspended from work. Further support may be available if required, in particular if an employee is required to attend external or internal proceedings as a witness. Managers and employees should discuss the requirements for such additional support and take advice from Human Resources if needed. 16 Such events are rare at the Authority and the nature and effectiveness of the support provided will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the Director of Human Resources in consultation with other parties as appropriate to the circumstances. 17 The provision of support in these circumstances does not preclude the taking of formal disciplinary or other action after an investigation if appropriate. Support and other resources 18 The Authority provides direct access to an employee assistance programme 24 hours a day on and online for all its employees. There is also access to the NHS managing stress website through the intranet. Related Policies HR01 Equal Opportunities Policy HR02 Grievance and Disputes Procedure HR03 Whistle Blowing Policy HR07 Joint Development Review Procedure HR08 Induction Policy and Procedure HR10 Disciplinary Policy HR11 Capability Procedure HR17 Bullying and Harassment Policy HR18 Managing Attendance and Sickness HR22 Flexible Working RM04 Health and Safety Policy 4

6 RM05 Policy for the Reporting and Management of Incidents RM07 Concerns, Complaints and Claims Policy and Procedure RM16 Procedure for Risk Assessment 5

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