Measures for ensuring workplace stress prevention and management

The Social Affairs Committee called on Council of Europe member States to carry out an in-depth evaluation of existing domestic legal and policy measures for workplace stress prevention, management and reduction.

“Legislative and regulatory” gaps in the workplace safety and health policies should be identified, with a view to ensuring “a better coverage of psychosocial risks, in particular for highly exposed sectors of activity”, such as health-care workers, social workers, police officers, teachers and customer-service providers.

Unanimously adopting a draft resolution based on the report prepared by Stefaan Vercamer, (Belgium, EPP/CD), the parliamentarians underlined that the burden of work stress in Europe and globally “go beyond purely medical risks”. With around half of European workers considering stress to be common in their workplace, “stress prevention, management and reduction needs to be mainstreamed” at different levels of governance, as well as in the private sector.

National lists of occupational diseases should be expanded, in order to explicitly “list stress-induced disorders, including occupational burnout”. Employers should be encouraged to adopt a stress-reducing organisation of work with shorter, four-day weeks (with 28 to 32 work hours per week), flexible hours options, greater autonomy, teleworking possibilities and job-sharing schemes, notably for working parents and carers.