Tuesday, January 31, 2023

How To Take Stress Leave

Why Is Workplace Stress Terrible For Your Health

Taking FMLA for mental health/stress leaveð§ð?¾â?âï¸?

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Stress causes the body to release cortisol, salt, and adrenaline into the bloodstream. This increases blood pressure and makes you feel more alert. Unfortunately, the fight-or-flight response also causes digestion, growth processes, and the immune system to slow down. If you are exposed to stress triggers often, your body may become acclimatized and will release fewer cortisol molecules when triggered.

Am I Eligible For Fmla

Gauge your eligibility for FMLA by reviewing the following factors related to employer size and length of employment:

  • You work for an employer at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius
  • You have worked for the company for at least a year AND
  • You have worked for your employer at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period.

Respond To Their Stress Leave Request

Stress leave is not a legally mandated type of leave. It is, however, a legitimate reason for an employee to use personal leave under the National Employment Standards. If an employee has run out of sick/personal leave they can use annual or long-service leave instead.

If an employee takes time off to manage their stress under one of the three types of leave mentioned above, they dont have to tell you their reason for doing so. However, an employer may be within their right to ask for a medical certificate if the leave was taken as sick/personal leave, particularly if they request more than one day off.

When an employee is upfront and says they need to take leave because of stress, Ferguson says you should thank them for being honest and avoid making assumptions about the causes of the stress. Instead, be curious about their experience and open to how you could help.

Appreciate that they have been upfront and ask, Whats happened? Whatever they tell you, stay present and listen . stress is about recovering from your work day. And if youre not recovering from your work day, every day, then you starting to become emotionally exhausted.

If the stress is clearly related to work, then the workplace should probably be compensating the employee. This may not necessarily be a separate paid stress leave. Perhaps it looks more like time off in lieu.

How should you approach telling others in the team about why someone has taken time off out of the blue?

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Youre Not Ready For Stress Leave If

If youre overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed that you feel your work is being impacted, you arent ready for stress leave. Its important to have enough frustration tolerance to handle the ebbs and flows of lifes various peaks and valleys while also knowing your individual limits. There are plenty of ways to mediate stress without taking time off, as that should always be a last resort.

If you feel like stress leave just provides the general opportunity for some restorative time off, youre not ready for stress leave, youre just ready for PTO. While it might seem like a great opportunity to catch up on all the shows youve wanted to watch, see friends or family, and drown your sorrows in bath bombs or face masks, having fun is only half the battle. Your stress leave shouldnt just be filled with activities youd be doing on any other weekend take it as seriously as youd take medical leave as if you were recovering from surgery.

Finally, youre not ready for stress leave if youre not ready to completely leave work behind. Stress leave isnt just bowing out of the parts of work that are driving you crazy. You have to have the presence of mind to know that being unable to handle one part of your job is a legitimate indicator that in the near future, even the things you enjoy about your role might become just as upsetting. Stress leave means that even quick emails or Slack messages need to be placed on the backburner.

Should You Take A Stress Leave From Work

Is It Time For You to Take a Stress Leave From Your Job?

Everyone knows that if you have the flu, you should stay home from work to recover and not spread the infection to your colleagues and friends. Its also clear that giving birth requires time off from work. But what about stress? Can you really take a stress leave from work?

You can, and sometimes taking a stress leave is the right thing to do. You may not see your situation strictly as needing a stress leave, but you may see it as experiencing burnout, anxiety, or depression. You need to apply for a leave of absence for any of these reasons in a similar way. Heres how you should approach making the request for a stress leave from work.

Read Also: How To Stop Hair Loss Due To Stress

Leave For Victims Of Family Violence

As an employee, you are entitled to up to 10 days of leave per calendar year if you are:

  • victim of family violence, or
  • the parent of a child who is a victim of family violence

This leave allows you to take up to 10 days of leave to engage in activities, such as:

  • to seek medical attention for yourself or your child in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability
  • to obtain services from an organization which provides services to victims of family violence
  • to obtain psychological or other professional counselling
  • to relocate temporarily or permanently
  • to seek legal or law enforcement assistance or to prepare for or participate in any civil or criminal legal proceeding, or
  • to take any measure prescribed by regulation

You can take this leave in more than 1 period, however, your employer may require that each period be at least 1 day.

To take this leave, you shall provide your employer with written notice indicating the duration of your leave as soon as possible. If there is a change in the length of the leave, you must provide your employer with written notice. The employer may request, within 15 days of your return to work, that you provide supporting documents concerning the reasons for the leave. You must provide supporting documents if it is possible to obtain and provide them.

If you have 3 consecutive months of continuous employment with the same employer, you will receive pay for the first 5 days of leave.

Mental Health And Stress Leave In Bc

In a recent study published by the Mental Health Commission of Canda, it was found that one in five working individuals struggle with mental health concerns. Moreover, at least 500,000 individuals seek sick leave due to their mental health difficulties caused by stress.

With so many Canadians suffering from extreme stress in the workplace, especially with COVID-19, many question their legal rights concerning stress and mental health leave.

If youre someone who suffers from high stress levels or any other mental health problems, weve compiled this article with the information you need to know about your workplace rights concerning stress and mental health leave.

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Faq Stress Leave Under New Ontario Sick Leave Rules

How Can You Prove Work Related Stress?

You can prove work-related stress, but it is not easy to do so. That is why it is a good idea to keep a personal diary, emails, and notes about your worklife. If you do that, you will be able to pinpoint when conditions at work, or changes, lead to your being put under too much pressure. In the hands of the right lawyer, this type of information can be invaluable and help you to win compensation.

Is Stress Considered a Work Related Injury?

Stress is considered a work-related injury. Just like with other injuries it is possible to claim compensation. You will need to provide some evidence to do so. These cases are quite complicated. So, it is important that you hire a lawyer that has experience in dealing with this situation. Often, they will be able to negotiate a settlement with your employer, so you do not have to go through the stress of taking them to court.

Can Stress Cause a Brain Injury?

To date, nobody has conclusively proved that stress can cause a brain injury. At least not one that fits into the currently recognized categories of brain injuries. However, it has been proven that chronic stress can impair brain function and cause what is viewed as low-level damage. For example, research carried out by the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science discovered that stress kills off neurons in certain areas of the brain.

Do you get paid for stress leave in Ontario?

How do you know if you’re stressed at work?

Employers Obligations Surrounding Stress Leave

Take a rest, leave your stress!

Work, Health and Safety laws state that employers have a duty of care for employees safety. This includes employees psychological safety. Accordingly, employers should maintain WHS policies that prevent employees from creating situations that may cause a stress related illness or mental health issues to coworkers.

For example, you could introduce a no-bullying policy to your workplace to better manage relations between co workers.

The law protects employees from any adverse actions taken by an employer in relation to employees suffering from mental illness, including stress.

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Meet With A Human Resources Representative

The last step in taking time off for stress is submitting your leave request. Reach out to your HR department to learn more about the company’s policies or your eligibility for time off. When you submit your request, consider following these practices:

  • Give plenty of notice: Requesting time off at least 30 days before your leave can allow your employer to prepare for your absence and approve your days.
  • Be specific about how much time you need: To approve your paid leave request, managers may need to know how much time you’re requesting. Include when you plan to start your leave and when you plan to return to work.
  • State your reasons for time off: Being transparent about your need for time off can help you start conversations about work-related stress. For example, if you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your job, you can work with your employer to improve the workplace environment and promote healthy work habits.
  • Discuss alternatives: Alternatives to taking time off for stress may entail working remotely, which enables you to work in other settings that may be more comfortable. You can work with your manager to find alternatives that can support you during your work.

Why Do You Need To See Your Doctor Before You Take Stress Leave

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Your doctor can diagnose your condition and decide whether you can go back to work. They can also refer you to a psychologist for cognitive behavioral therapy if they feel it would be beneficial.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a talking therapy that can help you identify how your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes contribute to stress in the workplace. As a result, it may help you better manage workplace stressors.

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Can You Take Out Income Protection If You Have A Mental Health Condition

When applying for an income protection policy, you generally have a duty to tell the insurer if you have a mental health condition, or if you have had one in the past. If you disclose an existing mental health condition, you may be seen by the insurer as being more likely to make future claims relating to a mental illness. As a result, depending on your circumstances, your insurer may decline to offer cover entirely, cover you but with an exclusion for claims relating to mental health conditions, or cover you but with a premium loading to reflect your existing condition.

Insurers vary in their policies for covering people with an existing mental health condition, but generally speaking it may prove difficult to get a policy that would cover you for mental health related claims if you have an existing condition. Mental health support organisation Beyond Blue has in the past called on insurers to change their practices towards people with mental health conditions who are denied coverage, charged higher premiums, or have their claim rejected for travel, income protection, total and permanent disability and life insurance.

If you are interested in an income protection policy, it could be worth checking with providers regarding their policies, and carefully checking any policy documents for exclusions and other conditions that apply before committing.

What About A Doctors Note

Is It Time For You to Take a Stress Leave From Your Job?

While the Act requires you to provide notice to your employer if youre unable to attend work due to health-related concerns, you are not necessarily required to provide a doctors note to your employer.

Employers generally dont ask for a sick note if youre unable to attend work for a period of 1 to 2 days. If, however, the period extends beyond three days, they may likely ask for one.

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Fit Notes And Proof Of Sickness

Employees must give their employer a doctors fit note if theyve been ill for more than 7 days in a row and have taken sick leave. This includes non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays.

If employees are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus they can get an isolation note online from NHS 111. They do not have to go to their GP or a hospital.

If they are off work with any other illness, they can get a fit note from a GP or hospital doctor. If their employer agrees, a similar document can be provided by a physiotherapist, podiatrist or occupational therapist instead. This is called an Allied Health Professional Health and Work Report.

Fit notes are free if the employee has been ill for more than 7 days when they ask for one. The doctor might charge a fee if they ask for the fit note earlier.

The fit note will say the employee is either not fit for work or may be fit for work.

If it says the employee may be fit for work, employers should discuss any changes that might help the employee return to work . The employee must be treated as not fit for work if theres no agreement on these changes.

Employers can take a copy of the fit note. The employee should keep the original.

Get Your Doctors Note For Stress Leave

Many feel uneasy about asking their doctor for time off from work. Dont be. Remember that your doctor is here to help you. They have the experience and training to deal with situations like this. Below are some key points to remember when talking to your doctor about stress leave:

  • Be open about your symptoms
  • Be upfront about your feelings. Dont leave out any details.
  • Listen to your doctors advice
  • If needed, book follow-up appointments
  • Explain your situation clearly and what you feel triggers your predicament

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What If You Are Experiencing Work

If you are experiencing severe work-related stress, you may be entitled to receive workers compensation. According to Safe Work Australia, 7,200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions each year, accounting for around 6% of all workers compensation claims.

To make a successful claim, you will need to prove that your condition was caused by your employment. For example, this could be the case if youve experienced a traumatic event or bullying at work. If you want to make a claim, it could be a good idea to seek legal advice.

Do I Have To Inform My Employer


Talking about mental health can be difficult. Its a sensitive topic and understandably, many people dont feel comfortable talking to their employers about whats going on in their heads. While the conversation around mental health has certainly broadened in recent years, stigma surrounding the issue continues to persist.

If youre worried about your boss giving you the close-minded, anxiety isnt a real illness response, the Fair Work 2009 states your employer cannot discriminate or take adverse action against you because youre going through mental health issues. So you cant be dismissed, demoted or offered any modified terms and conditions of employment. As with any physical injury, every employer should regard mental illness to the same level of concern.

Weighing up the pros and cons of reasons to tell your employer about your mental health, headspace says you are not legally required to tell your employer about these issues unless it has the potential to endanger yours or your co-workers safety.


When the CEO responds to your out of the office email about taking sick leave for mental health and reaffirms your decision.


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The Best Treatment Is Prevention

Employers should prioritise creating an accepting workplace in relation to mental health and encourage open discussion. Stress-free employees are more engaged with their tasks, take fewer sick days and generally provide an overall improved performance. Early detection and stress management could prevent a future psychological injury compensation claim against your business. You should regularly check in on employees to see how they are managing their workload and their environment. Many businesses are opening the discussion for mental health and providing relaxation and mindfulness support, such as meditation and yoga sessions. Ensure your employees are aware of mental health organisations that they can reach out to. These include Lifeline, Beyondblue, Black Dog Institute and Sane.

How To Manage Stress In The Workplace

Employers have an obligation to provide a safe and fair work environment for all employees.

To comply with their duty of care, employers must monitor employee performance, workload, and the kind of tasks they are performing. If an employer discovers signs of stress or suspects an employee is stressed, these concerns should be discussed so a solution can be found manage the problem.

Here are some basic control measures to reduce the risk of workplace stress:

  • Set reasonable amounts of work to be completed within an employees agreed work hours
  • Reduce the number of work hours each week
  • Redefine an employees role or responsibilities to better match their skillset
  • Set out policies and procedures to resolve bullying and other unacceptable behaviour
  • Encourage an open discussion to share ideas and perspectives on how to reduce stress
  • Give employees the option to raise concerns in the workplace without fear of retribution
  • Request comments and feedback from employees before implementing major changes into the workplace

Whether or not the stress is caused by the workplace, employers can advise employees to visit a doctor or employee assistance program to identify the source of the problem. Employers are not legally required to do this, but it is part of their responsibility to reduce threats to health and safety in the workplace.

Read Also: Does Stress Cause Shortness Of Breath

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