Stress Management Standards or a Quality of Working Life Act ? Simon Pickvance Institute for Employment Rights
Outline • What is the current state of the psychosocial work environment ? • Will the Stress Management Standards work ? • What is stress anyway • Existing law relating to stress • Proposals for law • A QWLA
HSE Psychosocial WE survey • Very little change over 4 years (2004-7) • 14% extremely stressed • No changes expected as a result of policy yet (18 mo delay) • ? Changes in management and peer support • Asks about anger and fear
European trends • Rapid trends: computers • Slow deterioration: intensity, autonomy, learning new things, satisfaction • Some areas of improvement: WLB, discrimination, hours, health and safety • Differing country strategies demonstrate there is no inevitability about direction of change
Demands, Control, Support Relationships Role, Change Audit based Standard questionnaires National surveys Priority areas chosen: Health, Education, Finance, Public admin Stress Management Standards
What is stress ? • Does it (still) exist ? • Bad stress/good stress • Silent stress • Social, psychological, physical • Knowing, thinking, feeling • Why now ? • An attempt to communicate ?
Fear Anger Frustration Care and social bond Tend and befriend Lack of ‘play’ Meaning Status What people say about stress at work
Fairness Security Influence and control Care Freedom of association Negotiated rewards, legal minimum procedures Vulnerable workers Contracts, training Freedom from harassment Consultation/Co-determination rules FWA, Rehabilitation Time-off Prevention services Representation rights Mediation
A QWLA ? Has to tackle • Fairness – procedural, distributive • Security – job security, physical security • Influence and control • Care: support, recognition of needs • Freedom of association at work
Existing legislation • Working time • Provision of Work Equipment • Pregnancy and Work • Management of Health and Safety at Work • DSE Regs • Dispute resolution • Equal treatment/Discrimination legislation • Harassment Act (proposals: Temporary Workers, etc., Employment law: Role of ACAS)
Previous proposals for law • Dignity at Work Bill • Right to Learn • Right to Flexible Working Arrangements • Duty of care • Extending ICE • Equal rights for all (migrant, agency, home –workers) • Trade Union Freedom Bill
A Quality of Working Life Act • Duty of Care • Employers’ duties • Attention to employees’ work-life balance, health, rehabilitation • Freedom from harassment and insecurity (fear) • Control - codetermination • Fairness • Rights to associate, be represented, mediate • Inspection
Weighing up our options • What are the benefits of using health arguments? • Should we merge QWL with Trade Union Freedom demands ? • Is it better to aim for small changes in several sets of regulations ? • What help might we get from EU legislation ?