Divorce Day: supporting employees when they are dealing with a divorce

Here, Adrian Matthews, Head of Employee Benefits at MetLife UK shares some guidance on how employers can support their staff all year round:

The first working Monday of the year after the Christmas break, Divorce Day, is traditionally when lawyers see their biggest surge in divorce enquiries. Whilst they increase at this time of year, the sad fact is that divorces do occur all year round. Employers therefore need to ensure they have adequate support available all year round to help make things easier when needed. Divorces are not only stressful – both emotionally and financially, but can also take many months to complete, meaning it can take quite a toll on those involved for an indefinite period of time.

Employee support can come in more ways than one

Divorce is life-changing and while it is a very personal matter, there are a range of ways that employers can help minimise some of the impact. Many employee assistance programmes offer 24/7 access to a range of services including mental wellbeing, legal concerns, financial support and guidance, so it is vital that these are clearly signposted and easy to access. It is worthwhile to understand what your group protection providers offer as standard and how these can be leveraged to support affected individuals.

Minimise external stresses

When an individual is going through a divorce, it is important to try to minimise other day to day stresses. Regularly reviewing their workload and regular 121s can help identify any concerns early on. Signposting ways to support their physical wellbeing can also be helpful to help to boost energy.

Encouraging individuals to take care of their own health is important too. Many employee benefits programmes include access to medical professionals. MetLife UK, for example, has recently partnered with HealthHero to ensure employees with MetLife group protection, and their families, can access a virtual GP service 24/7 with unlimited consultations.

Help employees adapt existing plans

With so much change, it can be easy to forget vital admin and changes to future plans, such as wills and even funeral plans. While many will avoid talking about death at all costs, it is key that estate plans and affairs are up to date and in order. MetLife has exclusively partnered with Everest Funeral Concierge in the UK to offer 24/7 support and assistance for funeral planning, along with a suite of online planning tools and a free will writing service. Wills and trust documentation can often be overlooked, so helping to update these is key to ensure wishes are met.

Divorces are difficult for all parties involved and while employees may not wish to discuss what they are going through openly, employees must ensure that there are clear policies in place to ensure support is clearly and regularly signposted so it can be accessed when it’s needed.