Everyone understands the importance of paid sick days. When an employee is ill with a cold or the flu, they don’t do anybody any favours by coming in for work. They spread illness to your other employees and they feel so miserably sick they don’t accomplish anything. Businesses have learned that they lose less money by paying their employees to stay home when they’re ill than by having their entire office snivelling for two months. But what about mental health?
In general, it can be difficult for Canadians who don’t suffer from mental health problems to understand and empathize with those who do. The vast majority of Canadians don’t have chronic depression or anxiety, and they may struggle to understand what it’s like for their neighbours who do. It’s why sick leave for being physically ill is generally better accepted — everyone’s been miserably ill with a cold.
However, just like letting your employees take a day to recuperate from food poisoning is beneficial to your company, so is letting employees have 1 or 2 paid mental health days each quarter. This is because even an average employee who doesn’t suffer from any chronic illness is going to have days where their mind is elsewhere. They have a sick parent or child, they’re going through a divorce, or they will otherwise be distracted and of no use at work. Mental health days give employees the time they need to recenter their emotions, so they can be productive and useful workers when they do return to work the following day.
Benefits, like offering paid mental health leave, will also help you to attract and keep the most talented and skilled employees. More and more young Canadians between 20 and 30 are saying they consider benefits as just as or more important that the base wage. They want to know they have the flexibility to be able to take a day off when they need it. Another option for businesses is to simply offer more flexible hours. Your employees are expected to get 35 or 40 hours done each week, and if that means taking Mondays off and working an extra hour the other days, no questions are asked.
It’s easy for businesses to offer a limited number of mental health days or to provide slightly more flexible hours to give their employees improved mental health. Your employees will appreciate your effort, and employees who are feeling great and appreciate their jobs will work harder and be more loyal to your business. To learn more about the many great health benefits you can offer your employees, contact Health Risk today.