Harrowells Banner Image

Our Resolve. Your Resolution.

News and Events

Employee wellbeing: what are businesses legally obliged to do?

View profile for Gillian Markland
  • Posted
  • Author
Employee wellbeing: what are businesses legally obliged to do?

With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic changing the ways in which many work, employee wellbeing is coming to the forefront. Ensuring that employees are happy and fulfilled in their job roles can be an important contributor to productivity and, consequently, the success of a business.

Whilst we, as a firm of solicitors, do not specialise in suggesting wellbeing initiatives, we often see the positive impacts of an engaged workforce on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we also see the consequences of employers paying little regard to employee wellbeing. 

This poses the question:

What are you legally obliged to do as a business?

The Health and Safety Act 1974 imposes a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. This is a wide-reaching legal obligation and doesn’t just cover ensuring that your employees are lifting a box correctly, or following health and safety procedures when using a ladder. It encompasses all aspects of employee wellbeing including the mental health of employees. More specifically, it imposes the following obligations on an employer:-

  • Duty to undertake suitable risk assessments;
  • Duty to apply the principles of 'prevention' of any risks identified following the risk assessment;
  • Duty to provide information to employees about the risk relevant to them.

Failure to adhere to the duties above could result in an employee resigning and the subsequent consequences which go hand-in-hand with that, including additional costs and time spent recruiting a replacement.

In more serious cases, an employee’s resignation due to an employer’s breach of health and safety laws can lead to a constructive unfair dismissal claim in an employment tribunal which can be very costly to a business. 

The seriousness of complying with health and safety obligations is not to be taken lightly as an employer.

If you would like legal advice on how to ensure that you are complying with your legal obligations, or alternatively, if you are currently faced with an employment tribunal claim, then please do get in touch with our Employment Team.

Our articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We are always very happy to discuss any plans, issues or concerns you may have and to clarify how we might be able to help. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.