A toolkit was published by Public Health England and Business in the Community in June 2018 to identify how employers should be supporting employees who are subject to domestic abuse.

The toolkit identifies that during 2017 nearly 2 million people experienced domestic abuse in the UK and that the annual cost to businesses was approximately £1.9 billion due to the reduction in the employee’s productivity, payment of wages and sick pay. This cost to businesses highlights the need for managers and directors to take action and help those they know or suspect are being abused at home.

Unfortunately, the research showed that very few reports are being made to employers, which may be due to the shame and risk of stigma to the employee. The report encourages employers to offer a supportive environment by providing a domestic policy and training managers on how to support employees suffering from domestic abuse. If employers take this approach it is more likely that employees will confide in their managers/HR.

It is also recommended that managers approach the employee to discuss potential problems if they notice a pattern emerging which includes the following:

• Frequent absences, lateness and/or leaving work early;
• A reduction in the quantity and quality of work and potentially missing the deadlines/targets;
• An increased volume of personal calls or text messages and a strong reaction to the personal calls; and
• Physical signs including frequent bruising and/or injuries.

If the employee voluntarily approaches you with a concern and explains that they are suffering from domestic abuse, you should be supportive and refer the employee to organisations that can provide assistance to the employee. It may also be necessary to make reception or security aware that there may be an issue to ensure that the employee is in a safe environment whilst at work and reassure the employee that you are putting steps in place which means that the employee will be safe whilst they are in the workplace.

If you require any professional advice or would like a policy drafted, please do call us today where one of our Employment Law Solicitors would be delighted to take your call. 01483 411533