Paid Leave's Role in Supporting Mental Health
Balancing work and family can take a toll on our mental health. Conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression often result from unexpected family medical crises. In fact, 43% of employers have seen an increase in accommodation requests related to mental health since the pandemic began.1 As a result, employers are struggling with requests and increased absences. They're also looking for ways to support employees while keeping a healthy workplace. Paid family medical leave (PFML) programs can support those initiatives. Here's how:
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Family medical emergencies can be stressful. The fear of losing income or job security exacerbates this anxiety. With PFML, employees can care for loved ones without worrying about finances. Knowing their job and income are secure won’t add to their mental health load.
Enhanced Work-Life Balance
Juggling work and family responsibilities can be overwhelming. Without PFML, individuals may have to choose between their job and caregiving. This can lead to guilt and burnout. PFML allows for flexibility, promoting a healthier work-life balance and reducing mental strain.
Strengthened Family Bonds
Caring for a family member with emotional issues may be eligible for leave. PFML allows individuals to be present for loved ones, fostering stronger family bonds. These connections provide emotional support crucial for maintaining positive mental health conditions.
Reduced Stigma Around Mental Health
Employers offering PFML reduce the stigma around discussing mental health. It signals understanding and empathy for personal challenges. Open conversations about mental health at work can create more inclusive environments.
Preventing Mental Health Issues
Chronic stress can contribute to mental health problems. PFML helps to prevent these issues by offering paid time off, as well as resources to manage family needs. Employees and employers can both benefit from this. Both may see increased productivity and lower healthcare costs.
Additionally, more companies are cultivating workplaces to change the stigma around mental health. A study by Fisher Phillips found that 59% of companies were discussing mental health in the workplace.1
More employers are open to paid leave because of the changing regulatory landscape. It also adds value to benefits programs. Employers are using PFML to achieve a happier and healthier workforce. Employees and employers are also seeing higher job satisfaction and retention. Nearly one-third, or 32%, of worksites experienced positive effects when employees take FMLA leave.2
Paid family medical leave is a resource for supporting family members. It can reduce stress, enhance work-life balance and more. It also breaks down the stigma surrounding mental health. PFML can strengthen a more compassionate and mentally healthy society. As more employers break down mental health stigmas, they’re likely creating more compassionate cultures. In turn, this could lead to higher retention and happier employees.
This blog is up to date as of November 2023 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.