Headlines: October 10th, 2011

Organisational change and re-structuring across the public sector has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in stress-related absence. Job insecurity is a major contributory cause of stress.

Rising stress levels is a major finding from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Simplyhealth Absence Management survey. The survey found that a combination of cuts to jobs, pension benefits and pay freezes bring pressures which staff are finding difficult to cope with.

Job insecurity is a major cause of work-related stress with 24 per cent of respondents saying it is affecting them. This figure has risen from 10 per cent last year.

More than 43 per cent of organisations report they will be making redundancies over the next six months. This compares with 17 per cent in the private sector and 24 per cent of non-profits.

Dr Jill Miller, CIPD Adviser, said: “Stress is a particular challenge in the public sector where the sheer amount of major change and restructuring would appear to be the root cause. To a large degree, managing stress is about effective leadership and people management, particularly during periods of major change and uncertainty.

“Line managers need to focus on regaining the trust of their employees and openly communicating throughout the change process to avoid unnecessary stress and potential absences. They also need to be able to spot the early signs of people being under excessive pressure or having difficulty coping at work and to provide appropriate support.”