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Divorce hurting workplaces in Scotland

24 November 2014

9% locally have had to leave jobs after a split, or have a colleague who has; 15% have seen workplace hit by sick leave following stress of break-up; 14% say separation or divorce had a negative impact on productivity.

Businesses in Scotland are suffering as a result of divorce and separation. That’s the finding of a new piece of research released today by Consensus Collaboration Scotland (Consensus), a body of Scottish lawyers, family consultants and financial specialists offering couples a non-confrontational way of agreeing the legal and practical arrangements for their separation and divorce through supported discussions.

The research, commissioned by England based family law not for profit group Resolution to mark Family Dispute Resolution Week, reveals that the stress of separation also has an impact, with 15% saying they or one of their colleagues has had to take sick leave as a direct result of the anguish of a break up. 14% of people in Scotland said separation and divorce has had a negative impact on productivity where they work. 

Yet, despite the effect it has on them or their colleagues, just 8% of people think their employers offer adequate support for people going through a break up, with 34% saying more needs to be done to provide support in the workplace for those undergoing separation or divorce.

Consensus is circulating these findings to highlight that there is an alternative to acrimonious divorce and that a better long term outcome can be achieve via the collaborative approach, which focuses on reducing conflict and stress and ensuring positive financial choices

It’s estimated that divorce costs the British economy up to £46bn every year; and the British Chambers of Commerce recently emphasised the relationship between employees’ wellbeing and business productivity.

Specialist family lawyer Cath Karlin, past Chair and Treasurer of Consensus Consensus, and Partner at bto solicitors, Edinburgh and Glasgow, said:

“It can be easy to forget that sometimes things going on outside of work have a profound effect on what happens within it, as these figures show.

“With workers here in Scotland seeing a notable impact on productivity, taking sick leave, or even leaving their jobs altogether, divorce and separation is an issue that bosses in Scotland need to take seriously and look out for the warning signs. 

“There are 147,870 small businesses (i.e. those with less than 50 employees) in Scotland, so losing just one member of staff, even for a short amount of time, can have a huge impact on productivity, and on the other people that work there.

“Divorce is a really stressful process to go through, but there is a better way to deal with it. Consensus members across Scotland help people to manage their separation in a way that minimises conflict, focuses on the needs of any children they might have, and helps them avoid court if they can.

“Divorce and separation affects a huge number of people - 73% of people in Scotland have been through a split themselves, or know someone who has.

“So, if someone you know at work is separating from their spouse or partner, encourage them to speak to a Consensus member and read the advice on our website.
Separation is tough, but there is a better way.”

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