Supermarket giants Tesco and Asda are among a host of major employers with a collective UK workforce of almost 600,000 that have committed to helping staff who are going through separation.
The retailers join other UK big businesses – including Metro Bank, NatWest, PwC, Tesco, Unilever and Vodafone – to team up with the Positive Parenting Alliance (PPA) by implementing more family-friendly HR policies at work in support of those separating or divorcing.
Launching its campaign in Parliament this week, together with Siobhan Baillie MP and Sir Andrew McFarlane, the PPA is calling on other organisations and HR leaders to better help these employees by introducing a number of HR initiatives.
The Alliance wants: separation to be recognised as a ‘life event’ in HR policy; parents going through a separation to have access to flexible working to enable them to effectively manage childcare while they reconfigure family setups; employees to have access to emotional counselling; separation support services to be well signposted and accessible.
James Goodman, people director for Tesco UK and ROI, said: “At Tesco we recognise the impact that separation and divorce can have on our colleagues. We are proud to support the Positive Parenting Alliance to make this experience a little more manageable for colleagues by signposting helpful resources for them and encouraging managers to be as accommodating as they can be, to support colleagues during such times.”
The PPA is made up of UK organisations and individuals who are calling for UK businesses to embrace a compassionate culture and better systems to protect the long-term wellbeing of children whose parents separate.
This is its second major initiative by the PPA to help change the culture of separation in the UK, which follows the launch of the Parents Promise in May 2021.
James Hayhurst, founder of the Positive Parenting Alliance, said: “We want to change the culture of separation in the UK, and employers can play a critical first step in offering support, signposting and role-modelling how separation can be handled in a more positive way for the benefit of all parties involved.
“Currently few employers recognise or accommodate for employees going through a divorce or separation, even though it affects large numbers annually, and is a huge strain on an individual’s mental health. Often, children are involved and impacted negatively by a family breakdown, and yet divorce is not formally incorporated into HR policies.
The initiative follows findings from the PPA which showed that the work performance of 90% of respondents was impacted when they went through a divorce, while 95% reported that their mental health at work suffered.
Hayhurst added: “The survey findings are a wake-up call for UK businesses which is why the fact that some of the country’s biggest employers have agreed to make the positive commitment to improving their HR policies is such a major step in employee benefits and wellbeing.”