07/09//2015

By Clive Thomas, Managing Partner, Gateway2Law

In the past, businesses have tried to stay out of the personal lives of their employees. However, as society changes there is no longer a clear line between work and home as personal lives often become common knowledge amongst work colleagues. Due to the popularity of social media, personal issues are very rarely left at home. If someone’s personal life is falling apart chances are that those they work with will know all about it.

Whether it’s divorce or relationship breakdowns, family bereavement, child custody battles, financial stress or even domestic violence, research has shown that employees do not perform to their highest potential and can often distract work colleagues around them.

Let’s take divorce as an example. Resolution, an organisation of over 6,500 specialist family lawyers, released findings in November 2014 revealing that one in ten people have had to leave jobs after a split. Sixteen per cent claimed they or a colleague had to claim sick leave following stress of a break-up and 15% said separation or divorce had a negative impact on their work.

Domestic abuse is another example of a personal issue which is having ramifications within the workplace. The Equality Human Rights Commission assesses that domestic abuse currently costs UK businesses £1.9 billion per year. Each year more than 20% of employed women take time off because of domestic abuse. These issues can transfer directly to the work environment, with 75% of domestic abuse victims experiencing harassment in work, through aggressive phone calls, partners arriving at the office, or even physical assaults.

The best way to ensure productivity does not suffer as a result of employees’ personal issues is to meet the issues head on by offering legal advice as part of an employee benefits package. There are a number of different ways to include legal advice. It can be offered as either a voluntary or flexible benefit, paid by the company or your employees.

While pensions, healthcare, holidays, childcare and work/life balance all feature high on employee benefits packages, legal advice should not be overlooked. Offering employees a personalised legal solution to their problem, at an affordable price with the support of expert and highly qualified solicitors, removes the uncertainty in using legal services and means your employees are free to focus on doing a great job for you.