New workplace support for separating parents

A new workplace initiative for separating parents is today being launched at the UK’s Houses of Parliament, following the release of a new survey showing that family breakdown had an impact on the ability to work for 9 out of 10 employees.

The survey, carried out by an alliance of over 20 organisations including the Two Wishes Foundation, revealed the major impact that family breakdown can have on mental health and performance in the workplace.

Today’s launch of this new HR initiative aims to address this by calling on businesses to put in place family-friendly HR policies for staff going through a divorce or separation in the family home, including recognising divorce or separation as a ‘major life event’ and providing, and signposting details of available support.

Major UK employers, with a collective UK workforce of close to 600,000, have already agreed to implement the changes – including AsdaMetro Bank (UK)NatWest GroupPwCTescoUnilever, and Vodafone, as well as leading law firms Payne Hicks Beach LLPBoyes TurnerMills & Reeve, and Laura Devine Immigration and marketing and communications companies that include The Marketing SocietyIPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising)McCann LondonAnalogFolkLeagas DelaneyOrganic and Goodstuff Communications.

Further details will be announced shortly at the event where Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Court Division, Siobhan Baillie MP, and Behavioural Economist Rory Sutherland will voice their support for the campaign.

“Our survey findings are a wake-up call for UK businesses which is why the fact that some of the country’s biggest employers have agreed to make the positive commitment to improving their HR policies is such a major step in employee benefits and wellbeing” said James Hayhurst, founder of the Parents Promise.

95% of respondents reported that their mental health at work suffered, 90% said that their work performance was impacted, and 39% took time off work.

These results come against a backdrop of only 9% of employers having an HR policy around separation.

In response to the survey results, businesses and HR leaders are being asked to better support employees going through separation by implementing a number of HR initiatives. The aim is to change the culture of separation in the UK, and employers can play a critical first step in offering support, signposting, and role-modelling how separation can be handled in a more positive way for the benefit of all parties involved.

Employers can download the support pack here.