The Welsh economy is at risk from crippling long term effects if employers continue to neglect the issue of stress in the workplace, warns leading Medical Insurer, Medicash.
Medicash Chief Executive, Bill Gaywood has called on Welsh business leaders to reassess the focus of corporate health provision as new figures reveal that almost four in 10 workers in Wales have called in sick because they felt stressed and unable to cope.
Moreover, research carried out for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has placed the cost of absenteeism to the UK economy at around £12 billion per year with stress accounting for an estimated £3.7 billion of this figure per annum.
Mr Gaywood, believes the issue can only be successfully tackled through the development of a positive long-term commitment to the well-being of the nation's workforce.
He said: "The focus of corporate healthcare needs to switch from a 'get well' strategy of treatment and cure to a 'stay well' culture where the causes of illness and absenteeism, such as stress are tackled directly.
"Employers who adopt this approach are beginning to realise that by looking after the general health and wellbeing of their employees they are in fact looking after the health of their company.
"This will undoubtedly result in reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and lower staff turnover and the long term benefits would be felt throughout the economy."
Medicash has undergone a process of extensive market research among employers over the last 18 months to develop two corporate health cash plans that can be used to promote members' good health and wellbeing.
Directly addressing the issues of absenteeism, recruitment and retention, Medicash Reward and Medicash First have been tailor-made to enhance the health of the company as well as its employees by offering a series of lifestyle benefits.
The plans include payments towards the costs of dental and optical treatments and professional healthcare treatments such as physiotherapy, reflexology, osteopathy and acupuncture.
Employees also have access to stress helplines and up to six sessions of face-to-face stress counselling to help reduce the estimated 13.4 million days a year lost to the problem.