Three years after the approval of the National Workplace Wellness Policy, a committee has now been set up to create an implementation plan.
This was disclosed on Thursday by lead developer of the policy, University of the West Indies lecturer Professor Dwayne Devonish, who indicated that an education campaign should start within the next five months.
“Right now we have convened a committee, this is the National Workplace Wellness Committee under the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership, and we have, for the next year, [to] just develop an implementation plan,” he said, although not naming the committee members.
“For the next year, we have a stream of educational and awareness programmes that you will see very soon, hopefully coming into September or October, where we will be talking about the different dimensions of wellness.”
He was addressing the May information webinar of the Small Business Association (SBA) which was held under the theme Taking Care of Your Mental Health – Implications for the Bottom Line.
The National Workplace Wellness Policy was developed between 2016 and 2019 and was approved by Cabinet in 2019.
It has nine dimensions, including physical wellness, psychological/mental wellness, environmental wellness, social wellness, intellectual wellness, occupational wellness, spiritual wellness, cultural wellness and financial wellness.
Each dimension has a set of objectives to be fulfilled, and the policy outlines a four-step approach to ensure its successful implementation, as well as an outline of a governance structure.
Devonish pointed out that small business owners will be able to get the support they need in managing their mental health and that of staff members.
He challenged the SBA, which is represented on the National Wellness Workplace Committee, to develop “a sub-programme in its wider portfolio of services to its members, of mental health support, or perhaps something in the form of an employee assistance programme and let that network be about mental health support services”.
He said he believed the health and safety committees within workplaces could also play a major role in helping to address mental health concerns, by educating staff on the various dimensions of health and wellness critical to employees and the business.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the SBA Dr Lynette Holder gave the assurance that the association would continue to do what it could to help micro and small business owners and their staff take care of their mental health.
“When the programmes are concluded and begin to roll out, the association will also share that information with members and encourage members to participate, because at the end of the day we need some practical tools to cope with this issue,” she said.
It is expected that a procedural manual and guidebook for the National Workplace Wellness Policy will be developed to provide specific guidance for its establishment, objectives, and mandates. (MM)