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“Divorce leave” phenomenon on the rise in London

Businesses are suffering as a result of divorce and separation. With over 60% of people in London estimated as having gone through a split themselves or at least knowing someone who has - recent research shows that 10% of those have either been forced to leave their job as a result of separation, or have witnessed a colleague do the same.

According to Resolution, who commissioned the research to mark Family Dispute Resolution Week; the strain of a separation has a real impact on workplace performance, with 17% of people saying they or one of their coworkers has had to take leave, due to stress caused by marriage break up. 15% of participants also said that separation and divorce have had a negative influence on efficiency in their place of work.

Despite these substantial figures however, many are voicing their concerns over the lack of adequate support for those going through a break up, with 34% saying more needs to be done to provide support in the workplace for those undergoing separation or divorce.

Divorce costs the British economy up to £46bn every year, with lack of productivity and sick leave playing a substantial part in these estimated costs. There are 364,320 small businesses in London alone. For them, losing even a singular member of staff, can have a huge impact on efficiency and productivity, as well as on colleagues who will have to share the absentee’s workload. For this reason, it is vital that employers recognize and take seriously, the impact personal issues such as separation can have on the individual and the workplace.

Family lawyer Zoe Bloom of Keystone Law, who acts as pod liaison officer for a group of London based sole practitioners and consultants, as part of Resolution, said:

“By the time an employer hears about a divorce, the employee may have suffered long period of emotional and possibly financial hardship. The indecision and uncertainty of that period often impacts on their performance at work, which the employee and employer will be anxious about. Addressing that diminished performance in a direct but sympathetic way will hugely support to anyone facing the legal consequences of separation. Allowing resentment and uncertainty to fester in the background, can only obstruct the long term productivity of the employee.

Having discussed the employee’s position openly, the employer can provide significant practical support by allowing flexibility for court appointments and openness in any financial disclosure requested. If the employer is in any doubt, the lawyers will always be pleased to discuss the issues with them, with the agreement of their client.

It is inevitable that employees going through divorce become sidetracked. The employer will find it frustrating but as a lawyer, I know that the employee is desperately trying to keep everything together. They will be the typical swan; gliding peacefully while paddling furiously underwater. Knowing that they have discussed things openly with their employer and that there is a clear set of support and boundaries to that support, will help them deal with one aspect of their lives, enabling them to recoup their performance more quickly.”

For more information contact zoe.bloom@keystonelaw.co.uk

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.

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