Businesses will be obliged starting December this year to offer their employees an annual test to check their mental stress level amid an increase in workers suffering mental disorders.
Under a revision last year of the Industrial Health and Safety Law, the test, which takes the form of a questionnaire, will target more than 20 million employees at around 16,000 businesses nationwide, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
The purpose of the testing is to let workers know their own stress level and keep depression at bay rather than ferreting out people with mental disorders, said psychiatrist Takashi Amagasa.
I – Word Understanding
at bay – to prevent (depression)
ferreting out – finding out by persistent questioning
II – Have Your Say
1. Do you get along well with your co-workers or boss? Heavy workload and working for long hours make up the majority of work-related stressors, but people issues, job security and even commute can also cause stress at work.
2. Would you take the test?
Businesses are obliged to offer the test but workers are not required to take it.
The law also prohibits companies from punishing employees for not taking the
test or refusing to see a doctor, or firing or unreasonably transferring employees
due to results of their interviews with the doctor.
3. A company can and should take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress. What changes would you suggest to help your company achieve this goal?