Can I be sacked if I am off work for too long with depression?

July 29 2021

A healthy and happy workforce is a good basis for a productive working environment, but we know that problems occur which have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of employees.

Depression, anxiety and stress can be difficult to recognise by employers and, indeed, often by the member of staff concerned. It is estimated that more than 10 million working days are lost in the UK each year through people suffering from these illnesses and the situation is often worsened by the worry of thinking that they may be sacked if absent for too long.

A vital role

Occupational health has a key role in supporting those in the workplace suffering from depression, including preparing strategies for a return to work – and we want you to be concentrating on getting better rather than worrying about losing your job.

There are several ways we are able to help achieve this. Depression affects the sufferer, friends, family and work colleagues so the first thing to do is identify the problem so appropriate levels of support can be put in place.

This can be done by carrying out an assessment – a procedure which assesses the employee’s ability to do their job. This helps us to help the employer by making suggestions about any reasonable adjustments which can be made to help the member of staff return to work . . . and be able to stay there!.

The assessment can be carried out in tandem with a screening of other health needs which provide a complete picture of the employee’s situation, something which is beneficial when it comes to putting a plan in place for a quicker and sustained return to work.

The right strategy

This action helps ensure the employee’s return to good health while minimising the risks of future sickness absence. It’s a plan which is also beneficial for the employer in terms of a more productive member of staff, which can only benefit the business.

It’s all about dealing with the situation in the best way possible, guiding employers on the best way to manage and support the employee concerned while ensuring this vital member of staff receives the help and any treatments they need to restore their good health and wellbeing.

For more information about how My Occ Health can help you, call us on 0330 0945866 or email


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