Understanding Wellness Leave: A Growing Trend of Combating Burnout

January 23, 2024

Employee burnout has become an increasingly common problem in the workplace. Many managers also seem to lack the relevant expertise to deal with issues of employee burnout. For instance, many employers are always quick to suggest team-building activities and afternoon workouts as a response to burnout. But sadly, you can’t always yoga your way out of every burnout situation. There’s a need to uproot the main causes of the problem and to offer effective measures as well. Instead of simply offering short-term solutions, employers need to take a more comprehensive approach to addressing burnout. This could include things like improving communication and transparency, setting realistic expectations, offering wellness leave and promoting a healthy work-life balance. By making these changes, employers can create a more supportive and productive work environment that benefits both employees and the company.

Although some employers still have reservations about embracing employee wellbeing and wellness, more and more companies are catching on to the growing trend of introducing effective policies to promote mental health for their employees. These policies, known as wellness leave, are designed to help workers recharge and prevent burnout. While this may seem like a counterintuitive way to improve productivity, studies have shown that it can be very effective.

This article explores the benefits of wellness leave to both employers and their workers, more tips on promoting employee wellness, and several other insights

Contents 

What is meant by a wellness leave? 

What are the benefits of a wellness leave to employees and companies? 

Tips for companies on implementing wellness leave policies. 

Difference between wellness leave and sick leave  

FAQs 

What is meant by a wellness leave? 

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Define a wellness leave

Wellness leave is a unique type of leave that allows employees to take time off for their health and well-being. This special leave is typically taken for a short period, such as three days or less. The goal of wellness leave is to help employees recover from illness or take a break from work stressors, so they can return to work refreshed and ready to be productive. It’s a forward-thinking benefit that recognizes the importance of employee health and happiness.

The average time that a human being can be productive and fully focused on a workday is 4-6 hours. The research claims that productivity beyond this time will start to decline and eventually people feel overwhelmed thereby causing burnout.  As such experts recommend that employers should provide regular breaks to maintain production. The concept of wellness leave begins with the understanding that humans are not built to live monotonous lives. Doing the same thing over and over again often feels eerily similar to living in the same room every day. But if an escape from the ordinary daily mundane tasks is regularly provided. Employers will greatly benefit from increased productivity and the quality of production greatly improves. 

Who’s Entitled to a Wellness Leave? 

Taking leave for mental health reasons can be complicated, as there are a variety of laws and policies that may apply, depending on your country, specific circumstances and policies offered by your employers. In some places, like the UK, there are no specific laws for taking mental health leave, but there are other regulations that may be relevant. For instance, employees who wish to take time off for their well-being are allowed to do so under statutory sick pay regulations. However, mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD are often covered by sick leave policies. 

What are the benefits of a wellness leave to employees and companies? 

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Importance of wellness days

The benefits of offering a wellness leave to employees outweigh the costs. Firstly, losing an employee because of mental, physical and emotional unwellness is costly. Moreover, the cost of recruiting and training a new employee is too much for any employer to consider incurring. As such it is important for employers to include wellness leave as part of their company policies. 

Additionally, wellness leave will lead to lower turnover rates, higher job satisfaction, and increased creativity and innovation, which is a great deal for employers because they are less likely to lose top talent. Employees also benefit from the wellness leave policy because it will allow them to be less stressed and increase their productivity, and improve their overall health and well-being.

Tips for companies on implementing wellness leave policies. 

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How to implement wellness days

Employers should consider implementing a type of wellness policy that is called flexible leave policy which allows employees to take leave from work for reasons including health, family and personal reasons. Employees are given a set number of days, for instance, 3 days to utilize for wellness leave. 

Companies should ensure that employees go on a wellness leave after every three months. A carefully planned strategy must be set to ensure that the company does not get to a point where employees take a wellness leave and then leave the company without the right workforce. 

Moreover, employers should promote healthy working environments where employees feel valued and comfortable enough to open up about their mental health and needs. Companies can also make use of surveys to get the employee’s opinions. This will make it easier for employers to establish relevant policies that support the well-being of their workforce. 

Difference between wellness leave and sick leave

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Wellness days vs Sick leave 

A wellness leave prevents the likelihood of sick leave since it allows employees to rest and improve their mental, physical and emotional well-being. On the other hand, sick leave is taken when the employee is already ill to recover and get in a position where they can get back to work. That is to say, a wellness leave is proactive whereas a sickness leave is reactive. Knowing the difference between these two types of leave can help you make the most of the resources available to you. 

FAQs 

Can employees take wellness leave anytime they want? 

Yes and no. It is recommended that employees should liaise with employers about which days are suitable for a wellness leave. Choosing to take a leave during times when the employee is needed to be on-site can negatively impact productivity. However, preventing an overworked employee from taking leave would be deemed cruel.

How long should a wellness leave be? 

On average employees receive about 3-5 wellness days. However, the length depends on the type of policy the company uses. Some companies offer unlimited wellness leave provided the employee meets their productivity goals.

How do I know when to take a wellness leave? 

Your body is capable of giving the signs that alert you that it is incapable of doing any more work. If you are always feeling tired, stressed out and often get sick with headaches. Then it means you need to take leave. You will always have to take a leave when you are having a hard time focusing on work and just not coming up with new ideas.


To end this article, it’s important to admit that this wellness trend is arising from the fact that good treatment of employees results in good returns for the company. Overworked employees do not give the best results. A wellness leave policy is detrimental to the growth of both the company and its employees.