Employers and administrators of troubled businesses should be doing more to support the mental health of employees facing redundancy, a charity has claimed.
Anxiety UK wants businesses facing potential liquidation and administrators handling insolvency to work with the voluntary sector to signpost staff to agencies that can help them through the worrying and uncertainty they face.
This call comes after a run of high-profile redundancy programmes in the retail sector with closures at HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops leaving more than 9,000 staff facing an uncertain future in a bleak job market.
With the UK economy contracting by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012, this has fuelled fears of even more closures in the months ahead.
Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK, called on employers to give more consideration to their employees’ mental health. “While employers do all they can to manage the transition for their staff, helping them with training and searching for new job opportunities, we are concerned that not enough thought is given to their mental health and wellbeing in these situations.
“We would like to see employers who are facing closure think about the wellbeing needs of the staff that they are going to lay off – we know that work keeps people mentally well and that being off work is not good for wellbeing.
“Therefore, because this is well known and documented, it stands to reason that ‘exit programmes for staff facing redundancies’ should routinely consider this matter.
“We would urge any business facing closure to ensure their staff know where they can turn to for help, who is available to support their employees if they need to talk to someone about their anxieties and fears.”