According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Based on the WHO, Globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression which cost the global economy 1 trillion USD each year in loss of productivity. Mental health of employees is an essential issue in working environment, so, without considering employees’ mental health by the governments and employers, this issue may lead to serious problems in society and working environments. Therefore, Governments usually take legal arrangements to protect the mental health of employees in the working environment.

According to the relevant laws and regulations, employee’s mental health is not a defined topic in Iran. Based on the Iranian Labor Law, employee’s health in general sense has been mentioned in several articles which may include mental health as well.

For instance, the employers and responsible officials of all workplaces shall provide facilities and equipment that may be required for the occupational safety and health of employees in their workplaces and put the same at their disposal, and shall instruct them in the use and operation of such equipment and oversee the observance of safety and health regulations by the employees. All workplaces shall keep medical records on all the employees concerned and require them to undergo the necessary tests and examinations at the health and therapeutic centers at least once a year and shall record the results of such tests and examinations in the appropriate files.

Also, where the termination of an employment contract is the result of a work­ related impairment of the physical or mental capabilities of the employee, the employer shall pay the employee an amount equivalent to two months’ wages, at his most recent rate of pay, for each year of service completed.

It shall be mentioned that the minimum wages of the employees shall be determined each year and in order to provide an incentive to increase production, improve quality, stimulate interest, and raise the workers’ income level, the parties to a contract may enter into an agreement on the payment of a production increase bonus in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations.

In addition, increasing maternity leave up to 9 months for women and considering 10 working days as paternity leave for men could help employees to cope with stress caused by changing in their lives and improve their mental health.

It shall be noted that merely a few articles are specifically related to the mental health in the Labor Code which emphasize on the mental health of young employees and trainees. For instance, in occupations and jobs which, on account of their nature or of the conditions in which they are performed, may be prejudicial to the health or morals of trainees or young workers, the minimum working age shall be 18 years.

Service training shall be authorized for young workers up to the age of 18 years, provided that such training is neither beyond their capabilities nor damaging to their health or physical and mental development and training centers shall, in conformity with the training standards of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, provide trainees with any equipment required for the purposes of their training and shall teach them the occupations or trades in question regularly and comprehensively. Furthermore, the said centers shall provide the necessary means to ensure the health and safety of trainees in the training environment.

In closing, it shall be noted that employees’ organizations in Labor Code of Iran could effectively provide a channel through which employees could be heard and helped to improve their mental health provided on having the feasible support of the government.

Coordinated by Dr. Mahnaz Mehrinfar & Ms. Khatereh Shahbazi