How can employers best support employees who may find Mother’s Day challenging?

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With Mother’s Day approaching this Sunday, a day seen by many as one to celebrate and recognise fantastic, supportive, loving motherly figures, it is for others a day full of challenges and sadness.

Employers would do well to consider how this day, and the build up to it, might be difficult for those who have lost their mother (or motherly figure), those affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby / child, those struggling with infertility, or for those who may have zero interest in having children and are finding it difficult to be surrounded by an all-consuming focus on motherhood.

It is becoming commonplace for companies to avoid triggering their customers / subscribers who do find Mother’s Day a challenge, by putting in place opt-out emails letting their customers / subscribers know that they are able to click on a button to opt out of their Mother’s Day promotions. But what about steps to help employees? The run-up to Mother’s Day (and indeed Father’s Day of course) can be worrying for parents and relatives who have experienced pregnancy loss or the death of a baby / child. Family, friends, and work colleagues may feel unsure how to handle the approach of Mother's Day and whilst for employers Mother’s Day falls on a Sunday (and therefore will not be a working day for many), the run up to the day itself can be a challenge nonetheless.

What can employers do to support those employees who may struggle with Mother’s Day?

A one size fits all approach will not work, and whilst the approach taken will largely be driven by the employee’s needs, it is worth considering the following:


If you are aware of an employee’s challenges, be that the loss of a child, or mother, or struggles with infertility, speak to that individual to ascertain how they can be best supported. For some, this may be talking about their loss or struggles, for others, they may prefer the “business as usual” approach;


Ensuring employees know where they can go for internal and / or external support – be this an Employee Assistance programme, or an external support network such as Sands / The Samaritans; 


If your organisation requires employees to work on Mother’s Day (for example, retail, hospitality, care sectors), consider how best to support those employees who might find the day (and those days leading up to Mother’s Day) a struggle. For some, keeping busy and working might help, for others they may prefer to swap shifts or take annual leave to avoid being around others. 

Care / kindness

The nature of grief – and how individual it is can make people feel very uncomfortable. Not knowing what to say for fear of upset can often mean the individual is avoided. Their grief might also bring to the surface uncomfortable memories of loss suffered personally. In most instances, it is simply letting that employee / colleague know that there is a support network available to them and showing them kindness and compassion during what is a tragic event in their life.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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