A recent article in Benefits Canada identified that 30% of all disability claims now relate to mental illness. If you are an employer in a small business and do not have the resources internally to manage some of these problematic situations, you may need to seek outside help.
Of course, the first step is to address employee performance problems early on. It is well known that there is a considerable level of hesitancy for an employee to admit to having mental health problems, and so they do not seek treatment, which then escalates the problem both at work and at home.
If you as the employer sense there are some mental health issues, the only way to address this is through a documented performance review where you relate any issues to how well the employee is carrying out their job responsibilities.
Suppose you do not help the employee address these performance issues in a measured documented way. In that case, you will have a significant challenge in addressing the escalation of issues that will likely happen not only with the employee but also with the rest of the team. If issues have escalated and it appears that time away from work for treatment is needed, you may need to hire outside help, such as a disability case manager, to work with you and your employee’s physician.
The first task is to define a cognitive job description, which means drilling down the essential knowledge and skills that the employee needs to do their current job. In addition, referrals can be made to community-based mental health programs to assist in the employee’s recovery and a plan for return to work.
Also, note that the longer an employee is away from the workplace, the less likely they are to return. If there is no return to work plan, you as an employer will have some long-term challenges getting your employee back on their feet and working.
Because more and more employers recognize the duty to accommodate mental illness., you will need to ensure that your managers can identify the signs of mental illness.
Also, it is essential to continuously develop a workplace culture that does not have a stigma to mental illness and that there is some peer support in the workplace. Mental health illness needs a collaborative team approach in helping an employee address mental health issues, enabling them to return to as a functioning productive employee versus a disabled employee who goes on long-term disability.
Source – blackstoneinsurance
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