Thursday, February 12, 2009

Work related stress

There is a reluctance to attribute absences from work to "work-related stress". People feel that employers do not need to know about mental health problems when they are considering who to promote in the future!

However, as John Illingworth pointed out at the West Sussex Teachers' Association Reps training course. "If employees put work related stress as a reason for absence, employers are bound by law to seek ways of reducing that stress." A recent court case saw a Leicestershire teacher receiving a six figure sum in compensation because the employer had failed in the "duty of care" by ignoring stress in the workplace.

We say this not to encourage the "compensation culture" but to warn employers that they need to change their ways. Piling more and more stress on teachers as a short term fix to problems like OFSTED will have long term consequences for the morale of the teachers and the number of teachers leaving the profession.

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