Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, owner of Consensus HR comments: – Number of young people making disability claims triples in a year “These statistics do not surprise me at all as we have seen a surge in our clients asking for support in relation to sickness and mental health. This is an area as with many areas covered under HR that needs to be managed correctly for the benefit of the employee and business and the correct legal and best practice action taken. Employers / Line managers need to ensure that consent is obtained from the employee and then the correct action taken such as arranging a meeting with the employee and discussing the issue and how we can seek support / medical advice to identify if any reasonable adjustments are needed and if they believe they may be covered by the Equality Act 2010 and one of the protected characteristics. Assumptions should never be made, or the incorrect support offered as we are not the medical professionals and in these difficult times of gaining access to a GP, a company may have no option but to go to an Occupational Health professional for support.”
The number of people on disability or sickness benefits has doubled in a year – and tripled among teenagers – with 60% of those off work due to illness living with mental health problems. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, younger claimants were more likely to be suffering with mental ill-health – with 70% of under 22s reporting mental or behavioural disabilities, compared with 20% of those aged 55 or over. A separate report from the Institute for Public Policy Research found that six in ten people off work because of long-term sickness are living with a mental health problem.