Mental health has been given as one of the top reasons people took sick days last year, with the number of sick days taken by UK workers rising to the equivalent of 4.4 days per worker. This is up from a record low of 4.1 days per worker in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics.

With the NHS at crisis point, GPs are falling over themselves to sign employees off on sick leave for work-related stress without much investigation. It’s more a case of “how much time would you like off, sir?” than whether an employee should be signed off at all.

Employees are becoming increasingly aware of this phenomenon and are turning to GPs to be signed off as an aid to delaying dealing with workplace disputes. Ultimately, it is only delaying the inevitable. But employers are best advised to deal with employee issues as and when they arise or face the risk of unmanaged, unplanned employee absences.

Last year there were 141.4 million sick days taken, with mental health listed as the fourth most common reason given for an absence, accounting for 12.4 per cent of sick days.