The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently launched its Mental Health at Work initiative, including a new website providing a variety of resources and tools to help improve overall mental health in the workplace.
Mental Health Crisis
Mental health issues are increasingly prevalent in the workplace. According to the DOL’s research, approximately 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness every year. More than 46 million people in the country experienced a substance use disorder in the previous year. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Also, almost half of workers said their work is suffering because of poor mental health. Despite its prevalence, there can be significant stigma around mental illness, including in the workplace.
Employer Compliance Requirements
Employers play a critical role in creating environments where workers are as comfortable seeking support for treating mental health conditions as they are with other types of illnesses. Employers are required to comply with the following federal laws to support workers’ mental health:
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA): Under MHPAEA, health plans that cover mental health or substance use benefits cannot impose more restrictions on those benefits than what generally applies to comparable medical or surgical benefits.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Under the FMLA, covered employers must provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to eligible employees.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Under the ADA, workers with mental health conditions may be protected against workplace discrimination and harassment related to their condition, have workplace confidentiality rights, and have a legal right to reasonable accommodations that can help them perform and keep their job.
Mental Health Resources
The DOL’s new website includes summaries for employers on the workplace legal requirements regarding mental health, including a fact sheet on MHPAEA, frequently asked questions about when employees can take FMLA leave for a mental health condition, and examples of reasonable accommodations that may help employees with mental health conditions to perform their jobs more effectively. To help create a supportive workplace, the DOL’s website has links to various posters, checklists, toolkits and other resources. The website also provides resources for workers to get help with their mental health needs and learn about their rights.
For a copy of this notice, click here: DOL Launches New Website for Workplace Mental Health Resources