Should employees pay divorce insurance to protect employers?
Should employees pay divorce insurance to protect employers?
Divorce costs to the employee and the employer can be staggering.
It is estimated that divorce costs the British economy up to £46 billion every year (that’s more than we spend on defence), and the Chamber of Commerce are well aware of the intrinsic relationship between employees’ wellbeing and business productivity.
Divorce hurting British workplaces 26 Nov 2014 revealed that one in ten employees have had to leave jobs after a split, or have a colleague who has. 16% have seen the workplace hit by sick leave following the stress of break-up, and 15% say separation or divorce had a negative impact on productivity.
What other potential risk is likely to affect as much as 50% of an employer workforce – with such certainty?
If you include families breaking up who are cohabiting, then that could be as much as half of a company’s employees. Accidents, lawsuits, liability, mistakes – all pose major risk-based threats to employers. Yet, none has a chance of affecting 50% of a company’s workforce in the way that divorce and family separation are sure to strike.
Robert L. Heston, President and CEO of Legal Access Plans, L.L.C., was surprised way back in 2010 that more companies were not taking the threat of divorce to their employees more seriously:
“And what insurance plan can cost the employer nothing to implement or maintain [the employees pays the monthly premium], and yet enable the employer to save thousands of dollars in stress and health-related treatment costs?”
How many UK company are looking into legal plans as a divorce risk assessment and risk prevention tool? They are in America – and Heston records in his article in Voluntary Benefits Magazine that legal plans were being sold in record numbers.
Divorce undoubtedly reduces a worker’s productivity. According to John Curtis of Integrated Organizational Development in Waynesville, N.C., the cost per worker going through a divorce is about $8,300, assuming an average wage of $19.50 per hour and a 50 percent to 75 percent drop in productivity. That estimate also includes days missed as the worker takes time off to deal with the legal, financial and psychological issues related to divorce.
The average fee for replacing a departing staff member is £30,614. Staff turnover costs British businesses at least £4.13bn every year as new employees take up to eight months to reach optimum productivity levels, according to research. (The Telegraph 24 Feb 2014)
The Human Cost
It’s not just the financial analysts who should be helping businesses to be more resilient to this threat. Counsellors are well aware of the human cost and the impact on the workplace as a whole. It has been reported that divorced men are at least twice as likely to attempt suicide than married men.
Caron Barruw shares how a steady employee can change overnight due to the effects of family separation:
“All the research now shows that children survive divorce and adjust well if the parents act civilly and behave as friends. So the biggest mistake a lot of parents make, is that they get angry, rush off to the lawyers, rush off to court, and start a war.
I’ve had children come into my office and draw me their parents with guns shooting each other in the art therapy sessions I run with them. That is how the children represent how angry their parents are with each other. So I think it’s quite important for parents to realise that if they create a war-like situation, then the children are going to become victims of that war.” Caron Barruw: Psychotherapist: Alternative Divorce Directory
In just 60 short seconds, the impact on children of divorce and family separation is clear to see – through the artwork of a group of children, collated from images from Postcards from Splitsville. In this one minute video is the frightening prospect of a long-term social impact – the next generation of employees – scarred by their experiences of their parents’ angry breakups.
How to co-parent with someone you don’t like anymore
Even though she had a very civilised divorce (using the Collaborative Law process), the later custody battles fought by Madonna, show that even with an initially ‘healthy’ divorce, fighting over the kids can go on for years.
This is why the unique online resource CoParenting in a Box™ – launched this year with the support of resources from Resolution, National Family Mediation, Families Need Fathers, and other key organisations, is timely.
The resource provides a way for parents who no longer live together to find better ways to resolve co-parenting disputes, providing access to video interviews with top experts in their fields – including parenting and mediation – and other key resources, all in one place.
Not just good information, but also complimentary initial access to a holistic range of experts, some offering whole discovery sessions on Skype.
HR & Business Development Director at Azureus Ltd, Gareth Williams, has recently included Divorce First Aid Training for Employees in a package of courses available to SME’s who are looking for something beyond the usual range of courses on offer. Time Management training is important, but difficult to put into action when you’re psychologically exhausted by a long-running dispute with your Ex, or unable to get access to see your own children.
A top provider of employee ‘perks’ is going to be sharing free access to CoParenting in a Box™ later this year, because they recognise that employees need a wide range of resources, often beyond the scope of your traditional employee wellness programmes.
Perkbox provide access to more than a hundred employee rewards that has proven to increase staff retention significantly – on average, by 14%. The ‘perks’ range from free food in major UK restaurants, to movie tickets, to phone insurance and more. The ‘more’ includes a voucher to a complimentary CoParenting in a Box™, which will in turn give over 300,000 UK employees access to hundred’s of pounds of no-obligation discovery sessions and information from parenting experts through to family mediators and financial advisors, all focused on helping those families to resolve conflict and to evolve into successful extended families.
Forward thinking companies like the Royal Mail are trialling Dialogue First, which offers lawyer-assisted mediation to couples considering divorce. And these initiatives have not just evolved from what is clearly a real gap in the employee wellness arena – the call has also come from the Government.
Iain Duncan Smith has been quoted in the Telegraph in 2014 saying:
“Companies should intervene and help employees going through marital break ups to prevent them ‘crashing out’ of work and ending up on benefits.”
If Guy Ritchie and Madonna had accessed CoParenting in a Box™ – and the expert advice within it – they may have avoided wasting a whole lot of money and putting their kids through the horror of parents who are at war. Thanks to companies like Perkbox and the organisations and charities supporting non-adversarial routes through family change, many UK employees will be better informed and better resourced than parents like Madonna, who for all her fame and fortune, suffers the same parenting issues as the rest of us.
It may seem unlikely that UK employees will ever choose to pay for ‘divorce insurance’ from their salary to protect themselves and their employers from the financial fall-out of divorce, but hopefully they will gain the financial and emotional support earlier via the resources now becoming available, which will reduce the destructive effects of family separation in the workplace – and on the economy as a whole.
Information about CoParenting in a Box™: www.coparentinginabox.com
Current Partnership Page: https://startingovershow.
Creator CoParenting in a Box™
07525 059 634
Suzy Miller is the UK’s ‘Alternative Divorce Guide‘ and is one of the exhibitors at the ‘Tomorrow’s Child’ exhibition at the Houses of Parliament in June.
Suzy Miller is a Public Speaker and Trainer, and has been featured on Radio 4 Women’s Hour, the Daily Mail and C5’s The Vanessa Show.
*Divorce hurting British workplaces 26 Nov 2014
suzyMillerCreator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
6th March 2022
1st December 2023
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