Employee assistance programmesEmployers can have a huge influence in ensuring that their employees feel supported when going through personal problems by running employee assistance programmes (EAP) that offer staff confidential support including counselling, information, guidance, and referrals on any work, personal or family issues. These services save employees time, stress and anxiety, and enable them to stay more focused and productive at work. As well as a dramatic change in emotions, practical difficulties may arise in the breakdown. If the employee is getting divorced they may need time off work to attend meetings with solicitors, barristers and even court hearings. Working hours may need to be changed to accommodate new childcare responsibilities. Information may need to be provided on pension splitting in divorce. The more prepared the employer is the easier the employee will find this process. Employers can also show support by being familiar with organisations that offer advice and information on the alternative approaches to managing relationship breakdown. With mediation, a trained mediator provides a structured and informed environment in which parties can discuss and negotiate matters relating to their separation, including finances and children. In the collaborative process, both parties instruct their own solicitors and all meet together to work things out face-to-face in a constructive and non-contentious environment. While working together collaboratively, the parties have the support and legal advice of their own solicitors as they go. It is important that employers bear in mind that each employee will respond differently to their personal issues. Some employees will find solace in work and find them able to stay focused and productive, whilst others will feel threatened by the prospect of losing their source of security and everyday lifestyle as they knew it. They could benefit from being assigned less stressful projects at work and given more flexibility, or even some time off, to help them deal with their problems. Overall, this is a difficult issue any business to deal with so my advice would be to make sure you consult with the employee to find out the extent of the problem and try to come up with a solution that suits both parties. David Price is CEO of Health Assured Find out why your employees are turning up to work unwell
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.