Major employers offer support to staff parents who separate

The Parents Promise has launched a campaign asking employers to incorporate more family-friendly HR policies for staff going through a divorce or separation.

At the 26th January launch in London senior staff from Asda, Metrobank, NatWest, PwC, Tesco, Unilever, and Vodafone signed up to work with the Positive Parenting Alliance to change the culture of separation in the UK.

In a survey commissioned by the Alliance more than 74% of parents admitted that they were less efficient at work and over 39% felt they had to take time off work as a result of their separation. Over 12% stopped work altogether.  52% said that as a result of their separation they felt they might lose their job or thought about voluntarily leaving and just 9% said their employer had specific policies or support for employees going through separation or divorce.

James Hayhurst, founder of the Positive Parenting Alliance, said: “We want 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.”

Suggested HR changes include:

  • Recognising separation as a ‘life event’ in HR policy so that those experiencing separation feel recognised and realise that they can access support.
  • Ensuring parents going through separation have access to flexible working to enable them to manage school and childcare pick-ups and drop-offs whilst they reconfigure their family setups.
  • Giving employees access to, and pointing them towards, emotional counselling during this period.
  • Signposting and access to separation support services so that parents can have the guidance and support that they need to separate in the most compassionate and child-focused way.