“Legislation providing for the introduction of new Healthy Workplace policies for the public sector shows that this Government is serious about making Ireland healthier”, says Dan Neville, Fine Gael Party Chairperson and TD for Limerick.
“The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar is preparing a new campaign to get workplaces more active and to support positive mental by encouraging the public sector to develop Healthy Workplace policies.
“The public sector and agencies employ 288,561 people, that’s 15% of the total workforce, so investing in staff’s health by putting in place Healthy Workplace policies has the potential to make a major difference.
“The proposed Health and Wellbeing (Workplace Wellbeing) Bill will require public service employers to develop a ‘healthy workplace’ policy to promote the physical, mental and social wellbeing of employees.
“There are many options when it comes to how a workplace can support its staff in being healthier. It is up to individual employers to consult with staff and to decide what should be included in their policy. The Healthy Workplace policies can include promoting active travel by encouraging staff to travel to and from work by foot, by bike, by public transport or through car sharing.
“Workplaces can set up exercise groups; canteens can provide healthy eating options and staff can be supported through positive mental health and wellbeing by encouraging employees to deal with stress, personal difficulties and to seek help when necessary.
“The Irish Health Service spends billions each year on promoting, protecting and restoring people’s health and wellbeing. However the most important investment we can make is to protect people’s health and to keep them out of hospital. Making workplaces healthier environments will make a significant difference.
“A healthy workforce is a happier one with low levels of sick leave and greater productivity. The Government means business when it comes to improving the nation’s health. We need to plan for the future, to look after our people and to prevent avoidable illnesses.