Relationship breakdowns

Should organisations offer support?

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Health Assured team

01 October 2018

Relationship breakdowns can be one of the biggest causes of stress and unhappiness in life, so it is inevitable that a relationship breakdown can have a strong impact on productivity within the workplace.

It makes good business sense for employers to acknowledge the role they can play in assisting their employees through the upheaval of a relationship breakdown.

Employers cannot ignore the impact of a relationship breakdown may have on the welfare and productivity of their employees.

Mental health effects of relationship breakdowns

Individuals may find themselves in a position of uncertainty about their family, the future, whilst facing financial, childcare and living difficulties.

Work may suddenly become secondary to some employees, having a direct impact on your organisation. Employees may be worried about legal procedures, financial disagreements, the impact on their children, time off work and the cost of solicitors and barristers’ fees.

Their anguish at home may inevitably spill over into the workplace, leading to:

  • Disruption
  • Disharmony
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Ultimately reduced work productivity

How can employers offer support?

As well as a dramatic change in emotions, practical difficulties may arise in the event of a relationship breakdown. Due to these difficulties, employers can offer support through various channels, they include:

Working hours - Employee working hours may need to be changed to accommodate new childcare responsibilities. If an employee is going through a divorce, they may need time off work to attend meetings with solicitors, barristers and even court hearings, or to prepare their own case for court, if they can’t afford legal assistance.

Offer advice - Utilise the Health Assured legal helpline to provide your employees with expert support. There are a multitude of situations that could occur where an employee will need professional guidance. For instance, an employee may need to face the issue of child maintenance being deducted from their wages by the Child Maintenance Service, or information may need to be provided on splitting a pension in the event of a divorce.

Education - Employers can also show support by educating themselves with organisations that offer advice and information on the alternative approaches to managing relationship breakdown, such as, Citizens Advice and Relate.


With mediation, a trained mediator provides a structured and informed environment in which parties can discuss and negotiate matters relating to their separation, including finances and children.

In the collaborative process, both parties instruct their own solicitors and all meet together face-to-face in a constructive and non-contentious environment to hold discussions. While working together collaboratively, the parties have the support and legal advice of their own solicitors throughout the process.

Treat each case differently

It is important that employers remember that each individual will respond differently to a relationship breakdown.

Some employees will find solace in work and will be able to stay focused and productive, whilst others will feel threatened by the prospect of losing their source of security and everyday lifestyle.

They could benefit from being assigned less stressful projects at work and given more flexibility, or even some time off, to help them deal with their relationship breakdown.

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

0844 892 2493.

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