News story

Employers urged to offer flexible working to support mental health needs

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Thousands of individuals with mental health needs could be offered more flexible working under a new initiative launched today by Health Minister Lord Howe.

Speaking at the launch at The Work Foundation this morning, Lord Howe set out how leading companies and organisations including EDF Energy and EEF The manufacturers’ organisation have signed up to a new Responsibility Deal mental health adjustments pledge to help manage and support employees with mental health needs in the best way possible.

The approach, which has been developed as part of a new health and work pledge, is set out in a simple guide that includes suggestions such as:

  • taking a flexible approach to start/finish times and shift patterns
  • allowing paid or unpaid leave for medical appointments
  • offering a phased return to work
  • providing a quiet space for breaks
  • offering job sharing

One in four people experience a mental heath problem at some point in their lives. Poor mental health currently costs the economy an estimated £105 billion and is the most common reason for incapacity benefit claims.

Speaking at the launch, Lord Howe said:

‘A good working environment is crucial for our wellbeing - and it can help aid the recovery of mental health conditions. However, stigma and lack of understanding means many remain unemployed or underutilised. This Responsibility Deal pledge will help employers think through the simple steps they can make to help.’

Find out more about the mental health adjustments pledge.

Read ‘Advice for employers on workplace adjustments for mental health conditions’ on the Guidance page of the NHS Health at Work site.

Read the press notice.

Find out more about the Public Health Responsibility Deal.