Understandably, the escalating war in Ukraine is causing significant shock and concern around the world.  As a result of this, many employers may be impacted as they have Ukrainian employees and/or employees who have friends, relatives or colleagues in Ukraine.

Employers must therefore look at how they can best support their workforce in light of these disturbing events which may also be significantly affecting those who do not have any friends or relatives in Ukraine.

This guide examines what support you can offer to your staff if they are impacted either directly or indirectly by the on-going conflict in Ukraine.

Supporting employees in the workplace

ACAS has advised that employers send messages of support to their entire workforce, rather than to specific individuals.  In addition, some employers may offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers a range of services including counselling support and/or details on how they can raise money to help those affected by the conflict.

HR may also be able to offer more flexibility around any requested time off work.  For example, by offering unpaid or special leave to allow staff to assist their friends or family impacted by the conflict.  Providing quiet space for employees to make/take telephone calls from relatives or friends in Ukraine may also help.

Employers may also need to provide compassionate leave to support those who experience bereavement as a direct result of the war.

Finally, it’s important for employers to have an awareness of any employees who may have links with Russia and may be distressed about the situation. They may also experience hostility from colleagues, which would need to be robustly dealt with in accordance with their disciplinary procedure.

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