France: First step to recognising burnout as an occupational illness

The French Parliament voted for a first step to facilitate the recognition of burnout as occupational disease.

In the framework of the Parliamentary discussion about the draft bill relating to social dialogue and employment, the deputies of the National Assembly have added an amendment to the draft bill in favour of the recognition of burnout and other mental disorders as occupational diseases. A first amendment aims to include burnout in the national list of occupational diseases, but the government is opposed to this. A new amendement was voted with the agreement of the government to facilitate the recognition of burnout as an occupational disease. Currently, it is under the complementary system that mental disorders can be recognised as occupational diseases (for more details, see Eurogip 2013, 'What recognition of work-related mental disorders? A study on 10 countries'). As with all claims for the recognition of a disease not registered on the national list of occupational diseases, the regulation requires a demonstration of the existence of a direct and essential link between the disease and the occupational activity. Furthermore, the disease must result in a permanent disability of a certain severity, because a 'predictable' rate of at least 25% must be estimated by a committee of the insurance organisation. This regulatory condition applies to mental disorders in the same way as to any off-list disease. The amendment stipulates that these committees could include more psychologists and that the government will commission for mid-June 2016 an impact assessment on the inclusion of mental disorders in the national list of occupational diseases. This is seen as a first step to the recognition of mental disorders and burnout as occupational disease. It is highly likely that the parliamentary initiative is related to the publication of a study launched by the consulting firm Technologia, which estimates that about 12.6% of employees are exposed to a high risk of burnout. The press has widely commented on this issue.

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