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MHAW: Sony staff get extra days off to look after mental health

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, Sony Music UK has revealed it is to give its employees two 'premium days' a year to improve their work-life balance

By Jon Chapple on 14 May 2018

George Ezra, Sony Music UK

image © Pip/Columbia Records

Sony Music UK is to give its employees an extra two days’ holiday in order to look after their mental health.

Sony, one of the ‘big three’ record labels, is marking Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) by giving all its British employees an additional two days off to work on improving their work-life balance.

In a memo to staff, obtained by the Independent, Sony describes the ‘premium days’ as “dedicated time off which can be taken in order to pursue personal development” and advises employees to use the two days to attend “external training courses such as yoga” and learn new skills such as meditation.

The initiative comes as the music industry’s mental health is once again thrust into the spotlight following the recent deaths of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison and DJ Avicii, both of whom were believed to have suffered from depression.

“A record label leading the conversation about mental health is very important”

Sony is reportedly offering staff workshops on “unapologetic body acceptance”, as well as yoga, meditation sessions and a “room full of dogs to help relieve stress”, during MHAW. The label additionally says it will encourage its artists, who include Harry Styles, Little Mix, Meghan Trainor and George Ezra, to make looking after their mental health a priority.

Paul Farmer, the CEO of mental health charity Mind, Sony’s charity partner for 2017–18, says: “Sony Music UK are the first music company to choose a mental health charity as charity of the year and the first music company to sign the Time to Change pledge.”

“I believe that dialogue about mental health can make such a difference,” says Ezra (pictured). “What happens within the music industry pervades other aspects of society, so a record label leading the conversation about mental health is very important.”


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