April 5, 2013

Should workplace divorce surgeries be employee perk?

The emotional and practical challenges facing divorcing couples will be exacerbated with the demise of legal aid for most family law matters.

This legislation, implemented on April 1, means that few people will be entitled to free or subsidised expert legal advice on issues including financial settlements and contact with their children.

In my opinion it is a short sighted development that will leave many people feeling abandoned by the legal system and not knowing where to go for advice – or indeed, how to afford it.

So what can employers, who take their duty of care towards their staff very seriously, do to help?  We know from studies that employees with emotional issues are invariably less productive, finding it harder to concentrate and manage workloads.

As 42% of UK marriages are expected to end in divorce employers may want to consider investing in surgeries and enlisting the services of a qualified family lawyer who can talk through the options available to them.

These divorce surgeries which can be conducted discreetly off-site, do not feature in the traditional tick list of perks and benefits such as pension schemes, additional holidays, health insurance and gym memberships. However, they can make a world of difference to a distressed member of staff who does not know which way to turn – and often with no idea of how they will manage financially in the future.

In my experience, the worst scenario for beleaguered individuals whose relationships have broken down is to brush their concerns under the carpet in the hope that the dust will settle.

It invariably never does and delays can impact negatively on colleagues and even on the whole business.

Expert legal advice at the early stages of a relationship breakdown can help prevent confrontation and chaos later.  Forward thinking employers may feel that divorce surgeries are a sound investment for their staff – and their business.

What are your thoughts on divorce surgeries in the workplace? Leave a comment below, tweet us @HelpWithDivorce or e-mail us here.