There are several laws that cover stress in the workplace and the main one is the health and safety at work act.

Businesses must take action to identify possible causes of stress and the action that needs to be taken to prevent or reduce them.  There is a limit if the cost of reducing or eliminating the cause are so expensive that it is not possible to justify them.

Businesses must carry out a risk assessment where there are five or more employees. If remote working, then a risk assessment still must be carried out to look at all people working at home, and individual risk assessments to identify and rectify causes of stress.

By carrying out risk assessments, employers become proactive in looking for problems of stress and not just reactive once the stress is found to be a problem.

The law does say the maximum number of hours that can be worked and this is called the working time directive, but some jobs do require longer hours and workers can opt-out of this maximum working time.

Rest breaks are required and they improve productivity and reduce stress by having a break from work which helps to keep you alert and able to cope.

For more information on working hours and breaks, see the HSE website.

The equality act protects employees as it covers items that can be a cause of stress or there could be discrimination or harassment case by the employer. Where people are being harassed this will cause stress.

Some common areas where companies do not follow the law include poor training, bad working conditions or not adapting to the needs of their employees. This can be with office-based or home workers.

Where there is a problem, you can talk to your manager to help, or HR if the manager is the problem.  Write down your concerns and solutions or questions to help solve the problem or to use in a workplace dispute later.