Studies have shown that Millennial and Gen Z employee sick leave utilization has increased 45% since 2019. And these same employees aren’t just using these days any longer for typical colds and flu, rather, they are also using them to support their mental health and prevent worker burnout.

Employers that encourage use of these valuable paid time off benefits for however the employee chooses to use them serves everyone well. More than 46% of employers are encouraging PTO usage and that percentage is continuing to increase as a way of showing support for employee overall wellbeing.  However, it is important for employers to effectively communicate this support in a way that resonates with employees which means utilizing a variety of methods and is critical to successful burnout prevention and higher retention rates.

While the utilization of paid sick leave has increased, so has the usage of other benefits offered, especially those that support mental health. The World Health Organization found that anxiety and depression has increased by 25% since the COVID pandemic. Employers may see the rise in anxiety and depression impacting work performance, productivity and turnover.

It’s essential for managers to create a work environment where team members feel they can be authentic and safely seek support when needed.  Employers can promote this by simply checking in with their teams, being transparent about their own mental health, modeling self-care, and encouraging the usage of company resources.

As sick days and other benefits continue to be viewed through a wider lens, employers that encourage use of benefits will help foster a more inclusive workplace. To learn more about benefit trends, programs to support mental health, and proven effective communications strategies, reach out to an MMA representative.

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