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Law firm Linklaters has launched a new policy which aims to support employees who are suffering from domestic abuse as reports suggest an increase of incidents during the Covid-19 pandemic as more people are forced to stay and work from home.
Linklaters has become the first UK law firm to introduce a policy and package of support for employees living with domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse has hit the headlines during the coronavirus pandemic, with more cases being reported as more people are forced to stay and work from home.
Under its new policy, Linklaters will provide three nights of emergency accommodation in a hotel plus daily living expenses for employees, and their children, who need to flee their home as a result of a domestic violence emergency as well as up to 10 days of paid leave for those who need to take time out to seek the support they need.
Linklaters will also enable access to a one-off payment of up to £5,000 to support an individual in becoming financially and physically independent from their abuser. There will be no requirement to repay the firm. Linklaters says this money can be paid in a variety of means to ensure that the individual has full control of it.
The law firm is also addressing financial abuse and has partnered with Surviving Economic Abuse, a UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of, and transforming the response to, economic abuse, to provide fully confidential, one-to-one, expert advice to support anyone who needs to fully separate their finances from their abuser.
Linklaters is also working with SafeLives to provide training for its HR team and people managers on how to spot the signs, have conversations and signpost support for those living with domestic abuse. The firm has also ensured that access is available to resources for supporting colleagues and those close to employees suffering domestic abuse.
David Martin, Global Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Linklaters, said: “The future of how and where we work remains uncertain. For now, our homes are now our workplaces and it is clearer than ever that domestic abuse is a workplace issue. The true scale of domestic abuse is unknown, but we know that there are no shields – it is something that impacts people of all ages, income brackets, education levels and backgrounds. We have introduced this comprehensive package of support because we want to send a clear message to any of our people living with abuse that they are not alone, we care, and the help they need is available to them.”
At the end of July, New Zealand became the first country to pass legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave to allow them to leave their partners, find new homes and protect themselves and their children.