Employees can take comfort using a stress leave when work-related stress becomes too overwhelming. Work-related stress is a common problem in Australia, with many Australians suffering from work-related stress in the past year. The cost of stress-related workers’ compensation claims in Australia is estimated to be around $10 billion annually.
Fair Work Ombudsman Australia says, “An employee can take paid sick leave when they can’t work because of a personal illness or injury. This can include stress and pregnancy-related illnesses.” In New South Wales, work-related stress is recognised as a hazard, and as such, employers are required to take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of it. One of the ways they can do this is by granting stress leave to their employees.
What Is Stress Leave?
Stress leave is a kind of leave that is available to employees who are experiencing work-related or personal life-related stress. Most full-time employees receive ten days of paid sick time every year, which means that while they are on leave, they are still being paid. Your benefits, however, are unique to your job contract.
According to the Australian Psychological Society’s findings, the demands of the job surpass our capacity to handle those expectations, work-related or workplace stress results. For employers and employees, the effects of working stress are typically not exclusive to the office. Employees experience the negative impacts of tension in their personal lives as well. Excessive work-related stress can have serious adverse effects on both mental and physical health such as:
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety; and
Employees are permitted to take time off for personal matters per the National Employment Standards established by the Australian government. This may entail being ill or providing care for another who is sick. Illness refers to physical and mental health issues, such as anxiety and stress related illness.
Stress leave is a type of personal leave that an employee can take to alleviate pressure from the job and recuperate from an illness related to stress. In Australia, “stress leave” does not refer to a specific type of leave but rather to why an employee takes personal leave.
Stress Signals in the Workplace
Stress from work that is excessive or prolonged can be bad for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Although long-term stress can cause anxiety, burnout, and depression, stress itself is not the same as a mental health issue.
While some stress is normal, excessive, and persistent stress is problematic. Everyone can use a few techniques to control and lower their personal stress levels and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
In the workplace, stress can present itself in various ways. The following is a list of indicators of stress in the workplace:
- Muscular tension
- Heart palpitations
- Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia
- Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhoea or constipation
- Mental illness or illnesses like depression and anxiety
- Overwhelming feelings of exhaustion and inability to cope
- Cognitive problems, such as a reduced ability to concentrate or make decisions
These manifestations of stress can be detrimental not only to physical health but also to an employee’s mental and emotional wellbeing. If these signs are taken for granted and would eventually worsen, there will be long-term detrimental effects on a person’s life.
Importance of Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Taking care of your mental health in the workplace is crucial because it can help to reduce work-related stress, improve job satisfaction, and increase productivity. It can also help prevent burnout which leads to low productivity and an increased risk of workplace problems.
Employers can foster a more positive culture in the workplace and improve the overall welfare of their business if they assist their workers in controlling the amount of stress they experience.
Furthermore, there is a direct correlation between a worker’s mental health and their performance. Thus, a balance of these two factors will help an employee thrive. If support for mental health is inadequate in the workplace, adverse effects may also happen to the employee and employer.
Workers’ Compensation Claim in New South Wales
Various workers’ compensation supports workers in Australia if they sustain an injury on the job. Employers in every state and territory must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees.
An income protection insurance plan may cover mental health conditions, including stress. Some insurance companies may deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing mental health condition, so research all policies before selecting a provider.
According to Safe Work Australia, there are around 750,000 accepted claims for psychological injuries in Australia each year. In NSW, the workers’ compensation system offers aid to anyone hurt at work, including help with recovery and, when practical, a return to employment.
Moreover, support and assistance may be given in the form of lost wage compensation, medical, hospital, and rehabilitation care, aid with returning to work, and in some circumstances, reimbursement for non-economic loss.
Benefits of Taking a Stress Leave
Taking stress leave can have several benefits for employees.
- It can help them to manage their work-related stress and prevent it from escalating into a more serious condition;
- It can give them time to rest and recover, which can improve their overall health and wellbeing; and
- It can help improve their job satisfaction and reduce the risk of burnout, leading to decreased productivity and an increased risk of workplace accidents.
In a nutshell, work-related stress is a severe issue in Australia, and employers must take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of it. One of the ways they can do this is by granting stress leave to their employees.
More importantly, taking stress leave can have several benefits for employees, including helping them to manage their stress, improving their health and wellbeing, and reducing the risk of burnout. Employers need to support their employees in managing their stress levels, as it can significantly impact the overall well-being of an organisation.
JB Solicitors Can Aid Your Employment Law Problems
In Australia, there may be disagreements between employees and employers regarding stress leave, and these disagreements may get more complicated. JB Solicitors can assist workers, and organisations can safeguard their rights and interests in employment law problems.
Additionally, while discussing stress leaves, our legal experts can assist in outlining the responsibilities and duties of both the employer and the employee. We recognise that stress can lead to a wide range of issues, and we offer alternatives to going to court. Our team can also help claim workers compensation and with mental health related claims and psychological injury claims.
Contact us today.