National Stress Day This week – Focussing on Increase of Self-Reported Illness

National Stress Day is being held this week, with a focus on the increase of self-reported work-related illness. Plus redundancy is rearing its ugly head again as employers reveal further plans to axe staff, with retirees in the spotlight, whilst the gender pay gap is also under question. Annie Hayes reports.


National Stress Day, taking place on Wednesday 5 November, holds even more meaning this year as credit-crunch fever continues to grip the nation. According to the 2006/2007 survey, self-reported work-related stress, depression and anxiety accounts for an estimated 13.8 million lost working days a year in Britain, with around 530,000 individuals believing that they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill. A recent Court of Appeal decision in Dickins v O2 shows that the law is now in the favour of the claimant. Following this ruling it will now be substantially easier for an employee to succeed on a claim for work-related stress. In his HR blog, Richard Donkin looks at one source of stress – bullying – reflecting on the role the unions have played in the past in stamping it out.





Of course redundancy is on the minds of many workers and it’s an issue that is adding to the stress and worry pile. The CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook survey Redundancy Special reveals that more than a quarter of employers have contingency plans to make new or further redundancies in the next 12 months in addition to those already planned.

Almost one in five employers say that they are going to enforce the government’s retirement age policy – which allows UK organisations to make workers over 65 redundant without having to provide a business reason for doing so – more vigorously. The report also shows that the average cost for making workers redundant now stands at more than £10,000. Dr John Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD said that the “spectre” of redundancy was beginning to “haunt” the jobs market. According to the findings, half of organisations surveyed offer redundancy pay above the statutory minimum.

The CIPD has advice on managing redundancy issues and frequently asked questions on legal aspects of redundancy.


In news that is at odds with concerns over redundancy a report suggests that six times as many credit crunch job losers say they’re in no rush to find more work.

Mark Bestley, a senior employment lawyer with Cheshire firm SAS Daniels LLP, said: “The main reason for this is that while in previous downturns it has been manufacturing that’s been hit hardest, the people losing their jobs now are highly qualified in, for instance, IT or financial services – and they know that they will get another job in a better climate.

“Many of them are also receiving relatively generous redundancy packages which provide a financial cushion and time to look around.”

In an HR blog, Jo sets out three conflicting views of management and the recession including a view that management gurus such as Henry Mintzberg believe that we have less of an economic crisis and more of a management one.

Yet jobs are still being shed and The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) is campaigning to safeguard older workers against the chop. Chris Ball, chief executive of TAEN, said: “Far-thinking employers would be best advised to build appropriate responses into their short-term ‘survival’, as well as medium and long-term strategies.”


Women are also bearing the brunt of discrimination, according to the Fawcett Society, a campaigning group. Reported by the BBC the society said data showed women earned 17% less on average, meaning they would be working for free for the rest of 2008. And according to the survey, 85% of men and 93% of women said the government needs to do more to ensure women are paid the same as men for doing jobs that require the same or similar levels of skill.


Responding to the 2008 launch of the Fawcett Society’s ‘No Pay Day’, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “With our economy under strain, creating an extra £23 billion by enabling women to reach their potential at work is more important than ever.

“But to close the pay gap once and for all, women must face a level playing field at work. The 17.2 per cent pay gap today proves that the touchy-feely approach with employers is not working.

“Only through decisive action, such as making employers review their pay systems and opening up flexible working to everyone, can we hope to push ‘No Pay Day’ back to New Year’s Eve.” To read the full release see:


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit


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