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This restaurant group is giving staff days off to look after their mental health

A London-based restaurant group is allocating days off throughout the year for staff to ensure they look after their mental health.

M — which has sites in the Square Mile and London’s Victoria area, as well as a new venue in Twickenham – has launched a new scheme whereby each full-time employee will be gifted four fully paid working days a year to be used in a variety of ways.

Staff and managers may use the days however they want, including a ‘mental health day’ to lower stress levels.

For employees who do not use all or part of their four days, the remaining ‘M Days’ will be added to their holiday allowance, the company said in an emailed statement, and ultimately paid if they are not used by the end of the year.

“All too often we see amazing talent in kitchens, bars and restaurants in London burning out and leaving the industry,” Andre Mannini, M’s operations manager, said.

“The hospitality industry must catch up with other industries and adopt an environment where a younger generation of employees have solid mental wellbeing and are inspired to perform to their finest when at work.”

It comes after an increasingly large number of industry leaders are calling for business owners to provide more support with mental health in the workplace, and in the wake of the death of celebrated chef and travel author Anthony Bourdain.

Bourdain was found in his hotel room in France in June after taking his own life. The TV presenter was filming for his CNN travel series Parts Unknown.

A survey carried out by jobseeker site CV Library this year found that just over half of staff working in bars, restaurants and hotels (52.2%) have considered resigning from a job due to lack of mental health support.

Just over 46% of respondents said that aspects of their job cause them to feel anxious or depressed.

As part of the M-indful initiative, the restaurant group will also offer its employees access to Spill, an app which enables its users to consult a personal counsellor without booking an appointment. Spill allows users to exchange text messages with an accredited counsellor when needed.

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