The HR Manager's Guide to Implementing Mental Health Leave Policies

mental health leave

As an HR professional, you're all too aware that mental health problems can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and high turnover rates. To counter these issues, supporting your employees' mental health is paramount. One effective way to do this is by implementing comprehensive mental health leave policies.

Understanding Mental Health Leave of Absence

Mental health leave, sometimes referred to as psychological leave, is the time an employee takes off from work to address their mental health needs. This could be for mental health treatment, therapy sessions, or any activity that supports their mental well-being.

Employees can take psychological leave in full or part-time, with the length of their leave depending on individual needs. This is usually unpaid time as employees do not perform their duties. However, depending on your company’s mental health policies, you may provide payment or other benefits during the leave period.

The Importance of Mental Health Leave Policies in the Workplace

Addressing mental health in the workplace is an essential component of a holistic employee benefits package. Not only does it have numerous benefits for both employees and the organisation, but it also aids in reducing stigma, encouraging employees to seek support when needed and fostering a culture of open communication.


Identifying Mental Health Concerns Among Employees: A Guide for HR Managers


Mental health issues can affect employees across all departments and professions, and they can be challenging to detect. However, certain physical symptoms can indicate an employee is struggling:

  • Changes in behaviour
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Withdrawal from social activities

If you observe any of these signs, approach the employee with sensitivity and compassion, encouraging open communication and support.

The Legalities of Mental Health Leave: An Overview for HR Managers


The Equality Act 2010 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 protect employees from discrimination based on their mental health. These laws require employers to take steps to protect the health, safety, and mental well-being of their employees.

Additionally, the government has introduced the Mental Health at Work Plan, which aims to improve mental health in the workplace and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

Remember, dismissing an employee on stress leave is illegal, and such an employee may file a claim for unfair dismissal.

Steps for Implementing Mental Health Leave Policies: A Checklist for HR Managers

Implementing mental health policies is not just crucial for supporting employees' mental well-being, but it also helps you meet your legal obligations. Here's a handy checklist to guide you through the process:

  1. Consult with employees and stakeholders
  2. Develop clear guidelines and procedures for requesting and taking leave
  3. Provide resources and support for employees on leave
  4. Communicate the policy to all employees and management


Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Managing mental health leave can be challenging. This section provides practical solutions to common issues, such as maintaining confidentiality, supporting employees returning from leave, and managing the costs associated with leave.

Conclusion: Moving Forward with Mental Health Leave Policies

In today's fast-paced work environment, the importance of mental health cannot be overstated. As HR managers, it's up to us to ensure our workplaces not only acknowledge the reality of mental health issues but also actively take steps to support those dealing with these challenges.

Implementing a comprehensive mental health leave policy is a critical part of this commitment. It sends a clear message that our organizations value the well-being of our employees and are ready to provide the necessary resources and support.

Remember, the journey towards a mentally healthy workplace is ongoing. It requires regular review, open communication, and a genuine commitment to support from all levels of the organization.

Enhancing Mental Health Support with Shiftbase

In our mission to create supportive work environments, we shouldn't overlook the role of effective employee scheduling and hours registration. Shiftbase, our leading SaaS solution, is designed to streamline these tasks, contributing to a stress-free workplace. By allowing employees and managers to handle scheduling and hours registration efficiently, we help reduce workplace stress—one of the key factors affecting mental health.

With Shiftbase, you can easily accommodate flexible schedules and leaves of absence, including mental health leaves. Transparency and ease of use are at the heart of Shiftbase, ensuring that HR managers can effortlessly implement and manage mental health-friendly policies.

Are you ready to take a step towards a more supportive and efficient workplace? Try Shiftbase for free for 14 days and experience the difference it can make in your organization. Sign up here to start your free trial today. Together, let's create a work environment where mental health is a priority.