Four law firms have signed up to a scheme backed by the president of the Family Division to support employees going through a divorce or separation.

Payne Hicks Beach, Boyes Turner, Mills & Reeve and Laura Devine are the latest in a line of major organisations to work with Positive Parenting Alliance on an initiative to incorporate more family-friendly HR policies for staff going through a divorce or separation. Such policies could include recognising separation as a ‘life event’, signposting staff to available support and letting parents work flexibly so they can manage childcare while their circumstances are changing. 

Family law group Resolution hopes to see more employers sign up to the alliance's scheme. Signatories already include Asda, Metrobank, NatWest, PwC, Tesco, Unilever and Vodafone.

Resolution national chair Juliet Harvey said: ‘With work and personal lives now more intertwined than ever as working patterns have changed, it’s more important that employers are proactive in supporting employees and their families when there’s a family breakdown.’

The Positive Parenting Alliance is a group of organisations including Relate, Only Mums & Dads, National Children’s Day UK, Black Mums Upfront, Action for Happiness and Two Wishes.

According to a PPA survey of more than 200 employees, four in 10 respondents felt they had to take time off work because of their separation. Three-quarters felt they had become less efficient.

The PPA's initiative has been backed by Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division. He said: ‘The immediate emotional impact of relationship breakdown is all-consuming. It hits a parent at work just as at any other time. The Positive Parenting Alliance calls for employers to recognise this impact, and to do what they can to support their employee. [It] offers a “win/win” outcome - good for employers and employees alike. Wise and insightful employers will, I hope, not need to think twice before responding positively to this call.’


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