Supporting staff affected by events in Ukraine
As the situation in Ukraine continues, this is going to be an extremely difficult time for some employees who are personally affected by the events reported over the last few days, and for employees who may be concerned about the implications from a wider perspective.
Employees with family in Ukraine and/or Russia
Employees with family and friends in Ukraine and/or Russia who are concerned for their welfare are likely to want to keep in regular contact with their loved ones. Employers should consider how they can support affected staff. Employees may wish to make/accept personal phone calls during working time so employers could allow employees to move their lunch break, to slightly adjust their working hours or to have more frequent breaks, so that they can more easily keep in contact with friends and family. Employers should try to accommodate these types of requests wherever possible and be alert to the fact that employees may be in distress.
Employees may have opposing views on what’s happening, so employers should instil their policy on bullying and harassment. If there is a risk of arguments between employees because of nationalities or different viewpoints, employees can be advised to use the organisations’ channels to talk about the events and how they are affected.
Organisations who wish to offer support to those in Russia/Ukraine, for example, by arranging collections of clothing and other essential items, should ensure that this is done in an inclusive way that does not discriminate on the ground of nationality.
Travel to Russia and/or Ukraine
Any employers who had plans to send employees to Russia and/or Ukraine on business should make other arrangements. Employers have a duty of care to employees and sending them to these countries may place them in very unsafe conditions. A safer option may be to hold any business meetings remotely.
Employees in Russia and/or Ukraine
Organisations may have employees working for them who are permanently located in Russia or Ukraine. The employer’s duty of care extends to these employees so regular communication should be maintained and discussions held as a matter of urgency around how the employee is affected and what support can be provided.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
A reminder of the availability of EAP, where employers offer this, would be appropriate in this situation. This could be helpful for anyone at all who is worried about what’s happening and the potential ramifications of it around the world.