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Germany Looks to Introduce Work-Related Stress Law

September 19, 2014
Health and Safety

stressThe German government is to launch an in depth study in an attempt to define ‘work-related stress’ and to calculate the cost of stress-related illness to the economy.

With the use of mobile technology and e-mail, many trade unions have raised concerns about a workforce that is always on duty. A government spokesperson said, “Noise can be measured in decibels, but with stress it is much harder to say what it actually is, so we are trying to establish a scientific foundation.”

German labour minister Andrea Nahles is prepared to draft anti-stress legislation as proposed by the country’s metalworkers union if the survey proves it is necessary.

A recent study by the chamber of psychotherapists revealed that 14% of all working days missed in Germany and one in two early retirements were due to psychological illness. Workers in Germany work on average 2.8 hours of unpaid overtime a week more than any other European country, according to a recent EU-wide study.

Latest figures from the Health and Safety executive show 40% of work-related illness in the UK in 2011/12 was attributed to stress-related conditions. The areas reporting the highest levels of work-related stress were health and social work, education, public administration and defence.