A recent report by Statistics Canada looks at Depression at Work and comes to some eye opening conclusions:
- An estimated 489,000 Canadians aged 25 to 64 who were employed at the time of their 2002 CCHS interview (3.7% of workers) had experienced a major depressive episode in the previous 12 months
- Although the various disabilities associated with depression may seriously impede an individual’s ability to find and keep a new job, many people who have recently had a major depressive episode (depression) are in the workforce
- That depression is associated with both work absences and lost productivity in the
form of reduced work activities.
- In Canada, the cost of productivity losses in the form of short-term disability days due to depression was estimated at $2.6 billion in 1998
Employers are, increasingly, having to deal with and accommodate employee absences having their root in mental or psychiatric impairments. These are, often, the most difficult and complex cases to accommodate and, given the trend in the case law, the employer should be especially patient with the employee and thoughtful in how it addresses the matter.