More than 3.7 million Australian workers or one third of the workforce have used at least one day of their sick leave for mental health or stress in the past 12 months, according to new research from the comparison website finder.com.au.
The survey of 2,010 Australian adults, found that one third (31%) of workers took a mental health day in the last year. Nearly two in five (36%) full-time workers have taken leave for mental health, compared to 32% of part-time workers.
finder.com.au insurance expert Bessie Hassan, says it is important for employers to use these findings as an opportunity to provide support for their team members.
“It’s worth considering incentives such as flexible working arrangements, subsidised counselling, or even encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle to help reduce stress.
"Furthermore, happy and health employees can boost productivity in the workplace, so introducing such initiatives can lead to a real win-win."
The findings reveal that female workers (32%) were slightly more likely than men (29%) to take a mental health day.
Tasmanian workers are the least likely to use their sick leave for stress, with less than one in five (18%) taking time off. Western Australians are the most likely to use their leave (34%).
Ms Hassan says that employees may have access to remedial treatments through their personal or corporate health insurance policy.
“Some stress-relief treatments such as remedial massage, yoga classes or counselling sessions may be covered by a health insurance policy with extras cover,” she said, adding that admitted psychiatric treatment is often covered by hospital policies that cover mental health.