We call on the EU Commission to propose a new EU directive to tackle the stress epidemic, which addresses psychosocial risks, violence and harassment and improves work organisation.
It is time to act
We spend a large part of our lives working, and work should not make us ill. Today’s working life is becoming more challenging. The statistics are pointing in the wrong direction. More and more suffer from ill mental health. New forms of work, digitalisation and rapid changes in work organisation contribute to this. Instead, the changes can be a good thing if we deal with them cleverly. It is time to ensure that the legislation supports improving the mental wellbeing.
Managers need better tools
20% of all managers experience anxiety – the highest share of all occupations. Managers experience the highest level of work-life balance conflicts. Managers and professionals also have the highest work intensity and longest working days. 42% of managers find it more difficult to tackle psychosocial risks than other occupational health and safety issues.
Lives & money – money & lives
From a pure money perspective for both business and politicians, it makes a lot of sense to improve psychosocial risks prevention. The financial losses are astronomical. In Europe, only the cost of depression due to work is estimated at 617 billion euros per year. But the money is only one side. Minimising the long-time suffering and even loss of lives is a matter of basic human decency. We spend a large part of our lives working and work should not make us ill.
No legislation means a missed chance to get employers to act
Even though legislation is a strong driving force for employers to assume their responsibility for occupational health and safety, there is very little legislation which addresses psychosocial risks directly and only in a few member states. On the EU level there is no dedicated legislation, and in the Framework Directive on Occupational Safety and Health there is only one somewhat clear reference to work organisation.