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Woman’s Tweet About Mental Health Day Goes Viral

Posted on in Employee Handbooks and Policies

Illinois employment law attorneyWhen you rely on a staff to help promote your company’s interests, it is important to be aware of your employees’ needs. Unhappy, overworked employees can quickly lead to decreased morale, reduced productivity, and lower profitability for your business. Aside from the numbers, it is also important to look after your employees as people—men and women who have committed themselves to helping you reach your professional goals.

Over the last couple weeks, the internet has been abuzz with commentary regarding a Michigan woman’s decision to take a mental health day away from work. More accurately, the talk has been focused on her manager’s positive response and the realization that more companies should be as supportive of their workers.

Sick Days for Mental Health

A few weeks ago, a 26-year-old Ann Arbor woman emailed her boss and the rest of her team saying that she was taking the next two days off work “to focus on [her] mental health.” She works for a tech company that provides chat services helping businesses connect with their customers, but it was the communication from her manager that took her by surprise.

According to the woman’s Twitter post, her boss’s reply thanked her for sending him the email, noting that it was a good reminder that sick days can and should be used for mental health. He called her an “example to us all” and expressed the importance reducing the stigma of mental health needs so that “we can all bring our whole selves to work.”

The situation, as you might expect, has drawn significant attention on social media and news outlets. While most opinions have acknowledged the forward-thinking attitude of the woman’s boss, some point out that this should be the norm, not a surprise.

Encouraging Mental Health Breaks

If you currently do not have a paid time off (PTO) policy in place for your workers, you may wish to consider implementing one. If you do have a PTO policy, but it is strict and requires doctors’ notes or other types of verification, it may be time to draft a new plan. An employee who is physically ill with the flu or a cold is obviously not going to be at his or best, and there is only so much he or she can do to battle through the illness. It is understandable for him or her to take a sick day, even if a doctor’s visit is not particularly necessary.

Mental health concerns can have a similar effect on a worker’s productivity and overall well-being. Just as with a physical illness, pushing too hard can lead to bigger problems. While mental health issues are not as obvious as a runny nose or a severe cough, they can be as debilitating as a physical illness if not more so. Allowing your employees to use sick days for mental health can promote a more productive workforce as well as healthier employees who will appreciate your genuine concern.

We Can Help

At A. Traub & Associates, our attorneys understand the importance of a reasonable PTO policy and we are equipped to help you develop one that meets your company’s needs. Contact one of our experienced Arlington Heights business lawyers for guidance today. Call 847-749-4182 for a confidential consultation.



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