The importance of wellbeing cannot be over-stated, with more than 15.8 million days are lost each year to mental health issues. A new or renewed focus on this important issue is long overdue.
A voluntary reporting framework has been developed by the government in partnership with leading businesses and mental health charities with the aim of encouraging employers to voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Who can use the voluntary reporting framework?
The framework is aimed at businesses with over 250 employees, but is also open for use by smaller employers who are keen to promote greater transparency in their organisation.
Why has the voluntary reporting framework been created?
It is believed that transparency and reporting in disability and mental health are effective ways to encourage a culture of change and acceptance with the aim of building a more inclusive society. This is a view supported by the “Thriving at Work” Review which was published in October 2017.
How to report
With regards to mental health, it is suggested that employers:
A – provide a narrative to explain the activities in their organisation in relation to supporting the health and wellbeing of its employees; and
B – report the output of staff surveys that provide measures of employee wellbeing.
Guidance on completing parts A and B of the framework can be found on the gov.uk website.
The website also provides useful guidance on the voluntary framework for disability reporting.
Where to report
Employers can decide the reporting medium, intranet, email, reports etc. and the frequency of the reporting. The Voluntary Reporting Working Group recommends annual reporting for those choosing to report publicly.
What are the benefits of voluntary reporting?
Reporting information on disability, mental health and wellbeing will:
enable employers to understand the issues affecting their employees;
assist employers in considering any changes that could be made in the workplace to assist its employees;
access a wider pool of talent and skills through promoting inclusive and disability-friendly recruitment, retention and progression policies;
improve employee retention with consequent gains for performance and productivity; and
promote engagement with employees – engaged employees are more likely to report workplace stress and take fewer days’ sickness absence.
As we reported in our January webinar, the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 which came into force on 1 January 2019, includes a requirement that UK listed companies with more than 250 employees report on stakeholder and employee engagement. Employee wellbeing and engagement are increasingly important issues not just from a compliance perspective, but because they directly impact a business’ growth and profitability.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.