Written by Brabners LLP
The government has published the framework Voluntary Reporting on Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing, to support employers and enable them to report voluntarily on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Whilst the framework is aimed at organisations with 250 staff or more, it can also be used by smaller employers who are keen to increase transparency in their organisation or industry.
In October 2017, the Stevenson/Farmer Thriving at Work Review (the “Review”) found that around 15% of employees have symptoms of an existing mental health condition. It also found that employees’ poor mental health was costing employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year, resulting from a combination of sick leave, staff turnover and a lack of individual productivity. The Review recommended that employers should report more information about their actions on workplace mental health on a voluntary basis.
In November 2017, the government released Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability which set out plans that the government believed would help transform employment prospects for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions over the following 10 years. The government supported the Review’s recommendation.
As a result, the government has recently released the two-page framework which aims to increase transparency in the workplace. There are two separate reporting recommendations: the first for disability and the second for mental health and wellbeing. Read on for more details about these recommendations!
For reporting on disability, the aim is that employers will report on Part A and where possible, report on Part B. For any employers who cannot report on Parts A and B at present, the government is hoping that the framework will support them towards being able to do so in the future.
Part A is the provision of a narrative to explain the action that the employer is taking to recruit and retain disabled people. This includes information such as:
- Organisational policies in relation to the recruitment and retention of disabled people;
- Support offered to employees with specific disabilities;
- The role of networks and support groups;
- Progression and pay of disabled people;
- Workplace adjustments; and
- Employee engagement scores.
Part B is a proposal that employers report on the percentage of individuals who consider themselves to be disabled. If an employer chooses to report on this, it should:
- State the question used by them. The framework recommends, “Do you consider yourself to have a disability or long-term health condition (mental health and/or physical health)?”;
- Explain the collection methodology of the data, for example, using anonymous staff surveys or updates to self-service HR records; and
- Consider whether the data is reliable enough to publish.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
For reporting on mental health and wellbeing, it is intended that employers will report on both Part A and Part B. Part A is the provision of a narrative to explain the action the employer is taking to support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees. The information should provide context, be accurate and complete. The information should address:
- Employee take-up of mental health support offered by the organisation;
- Training offered to employees related to mental health;
- The percentage of individuals within the organisation that are comfortable disclosing their mental health issues; and
- Whether a public commitment has been made to adhere to both the care and enhanced standards as set out in the Review and how they are being achieved.
Part B covers a number of questions that will provide a starting point for measuring employee wellbeing. These include:
- Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
- Overall, to what extent do you feel that things you do in your life are worthwhile?
- How happy did you feel yesterday?
- How anxious did you feel yesterday?
The reporting employer is free to decide where to report the information based on what is best for the organisation. The Voluntary Reporting Working Group has recommended reporting the information in the organisation’s annual reports.
The reporting aims to support employers and help them to improve employee engagement and retention. It is also a step towards promoting inclusivity and disability-friendly recruitment processes. The hope is that it will also encourage a better understanding of the experiences of disabled people and people with mental health conditions in the workplace.
This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose. Brabners is a Limited Liability Partnership.