The pandemic has been associated with an increase in the number of men and women seeking help for domestic abuse. New guidance from the CIPD and EHRC explains the importance of employers supporting staff in such extremely difficult personal circumstances.
Managing and Supporting Employees Experiencing Domestic Abuse
The guidance recommends that employers follow a four step framework to support staff:
- recognise the problem
- respond appropriately to disclosure
- provide support
- refer to the appropriate help
The guidance gives a number of key recommendations and stresses that employers should take an empathetic and flexible approach to managing and supporting staff. The guidance does not put the responsibility of counselling staff or solving domestic abuse situations on employers. Rather, it states that employers should be able to signpost professional organisations where staff can seek counselling, legal and financial assistance or make arrangements for housing or childcare.
The guidance also suggests employers should support staff in accessing such help by allowing flexible working or paid time off to attend appointments.
Creating a Supportive Workplace
In order to foster an open, supportive workplace environment where staff are more likely to disclose difficult personal circumstances, effective communication is key. The guidance applies to all workers, including those who are currently attending the workplace in person and those who are working remotely.
However, there may be more barriers to effective communication with staff who are working remotely on a long term basis. There is an opportunity to consider and mitigate any such barriers by rolling out a homeworking policy, tailored to the current climate.
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