Work-related chronic mental stress is one of the rising concerns in the workplace. It reduces workers’ creativity and productivity for a significant length. It also gives workers some serious psychological problems like anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc.
Though its appalling impact on workers’ health, authorities still don’t take enough initiative to resolve it. The good news is the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) implemented a new policy that allows WSIB entitlement for work-related chronic mental stress. It was released on 6 October 2017 and came into effect on 1 January 2018.
Work-Related Chronic Mental Stress: Definition & Symptoms
If a worker’s mental disorder is caused primarily by a work-related stressor or stressors, then it will be defined as work-related chronic mental stress.
The common symptoms of chronic mental stress are-
- Digestion problem
- Appetite loss
- Low self-esteem
- Lost interest in sexual activity
The symptoms have to be diagnosed appropriately. If mental stress is caused by other things like an employer’s management actions and decisions, then it would not be covered by WSIB benefits.
What are the Criteria for Entitlement?
Workers’ mental stress must meet three conditions to be considered work-related chronic stress by WSIB-
- The mental disorder has to be diagnosed by a regulated health professional based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
- The stress caused by work-related stressors like workplace harassment or bullying is only getting to be considered.
- Mental stress may be caused by other factors. If only the stressors are responsible for the stress, the workers will be eligible for compensation.
The chronic mental stress WSIB needs two more considerations-
- The incident has to be occurred on or after 29 April 2014, and the victim has not filed a claim for the mental stress with the WSIB before 1 January 2018. To be eligible, the victim had to file a claim on or before 1 July 2018.
- If the verdicts on mental stress claim were not reached by the WSIB and/or the WSIAT before 1 January 2018.
Cases of Eligibility & Ineligibility
As I have said before, not every mental stress case is eligible for WSIB benefits. Here are some examples of eligible claim-
- If an employee is constantly subjected to demeaning comments by the boss in front of his/her colleagues and develops a mental anxiety disorder for this reason.
- If the office colleagues are bullying or making inappropriate comments from time to time, and he/she complains about it. Yet, the harassment continues, and for that, he/she develops a depression disorder.
These are some cases where WSIB claim will not be available-
- If an employer changes an employee’s work schedule and the changed time or workload gives him/her mental stress.
- If an employee is fired for not following the company’s safety protocol and develop depression over his/her firing.
- If an employer extends an employee’s probation period, and there are no written agreement dates on making the job permanent.
WSIB mainly focus on giving compensation to those employees who suffer mental disorder for workplace bullying or workplace harassment.
What WSIB Chronic Mental Stress Claim Cover
WSIB benefits for chronic mental stress includes-
- Psychological assessment
- Psychological treatment
- Wage replacement
- Return-to-work service
WSIB’s new policy offers full support to rehabilitate workers who suffer mental disorders due to work-related stressors.
Remember that chronic mental stress is very different from traumatic mental stress. Traumatic mental stress occurs unexpectedly and suddenly. For instance, a terrorist attack in the workplace or armed robbery could leave workers mentally traumatic. Whereas chronic psychological stress is a result of constant bullying or harassment.
Chronic mental stress symptoms should not be taken lightly. If you don’t seek medical support, the condition could get worse. If you think you are suffering from work-related mental stress, contact us immediately. We will help you to get WSIB benefits in every possible way.