Mental health related issues can lead to decreased productivity and work performance, poor working relations amongst colleagues and increased sick-related absenteeism. It can also compromise workplace safety.


Over the last few years, employers have experienced an increase in the number of employees suffering from mental health related issues in the workplace. Covid-19 has seen a refocus on mental health in the workplace.  Covid-19 is however only an additional factor to mental health issues in the workplace. Poor working conditions, excessive or insufficient workloads and poor leadership may also contribute towards employees suffering from mental health related issues.

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health issue suffered by employees in the workplace. According to The World Health Organisation, approximately 350 million people suffer from depression around the world. Around 27% of South Africans suffer from depression.


It is also estimated that employee absenteeism on account of depression costs the South African economy approximately ZAR 19 billion annually. From a labour law perspective, the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) in the Jansen judgment* accepted that depression should be looked at as a form of ill health within the workplace environment.


In terms of managing employees with mental health issues in the workplace, employers should adopt a proactive approach which would include: