In September each year, the matter of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention is highlighted globally because the incidence and impact are more pervasive than we generally care to talk about.
Beyond Blue estimates that around 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports those aged between 15-44 are particularly at risk of taking their life.
MATES in Mining reports that, in Australia, one miner loses their life to suicide every two days with the largest hurdles to mental wellbeing being stigma associated with mental illness, living away from home, relationship issues, bullying, financial management issues and child custody disputes. Heads Up cites shift work and long hours as contributing to workplace stress.
And this is why it’s so important for eligible employees to take their accrued long service leave. It’s good for them and it’s good for preserving connections with their families and communities. Rest also facilitates restoration of mental alertness and physical energy, and increases the likelihood of the skilled resource returning to the industry.
It’s also good for business. Did you know that employers initiated long service leave in Australia as far back as the colonial days as a way to retain job skills in industry?*1* It’s as relevant today as it was then. While employees may not always need qualifications to secure a job in the black coal industry, they are certainly trained to become skilled or specialist operators to the point that Australia has a good reputation globally for its expertise in the resources sectors.
The metallurgical and thermal coal sectors are Australia’s third and fourth largest export commodities respectively*2,3. They are projected to contribute a combined $55B to the national economy in 2020–214*.
So it’s important to support employees and retain those skills. Long service leave is worth it, for your employees and for your business.
If you have employees who seem to be experiencing anxiety or a stressful event, but are not yet entitled to take their accrued long service leave, there are some excellent resources and training readily available through reputable organisations to help with supporting them. Here are a few:
Our periodic updates provide useful information for employers administering the long service leave legislation for their eligible employees.