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Issue date

12 February 2016

One in five met their husband or wife at work, TUC poll reveals

One in five people who are married/in a civil partnership met their husband, wife or civil partner at work, according to a new TUC survey published today (Friday).

The light-hearted poll – carried out by YouGov for the TUC and released today during Heartunions week and ahead of Valentine’s Day on Sunday – finds that one in three (33%) people have had a relationship with a colleague at some point in their careers, and that one in five (22%) of people who are married or in a civil partnership met their other half at work.

With such a large number of relationships beginning in the office or on the shop floor, the TUC today makes some suggestions on how to get the most out of your office romance without putting your job in jeopardy.

While the majority of workplace romances don’t cause any problems, some employers take a stern view of them, says the TUC. A few bosses even ban relationships between colleagues. Office romances can occasionally cause problems, warns the TUC, if, for example, one partner is in a position of power over the other at work, or when someone becomes jealous of the time their partner spends with other colleagues or clients.

If, like many Brits, you find a romance blossoming in your workplace, the TUC recommends you:

  • check your contract and staff handbook to see if there are any specific policies relating to office relationships at work
  • speak to your union if you feel that the rules are over the top or intrusive
  • tell your boss about your relationship if you feel comfortable discussing personal issues with them
  • keep your love life separate from your work life and deal with any problems outside the office so you don’t make life awkward for yourself, your colleagues or your customers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s hardly surprising that relationships start around the water cooler – after all, we work longer hours than anyone else in Europe.

“Of course it is right to be careful and think through all the implications – but heavy-handed rules and blanket bans fail to understand human nature and are unnecessary. A bit of common sense from employers is all that’s required. And I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day with the people they love.”


- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,642 adults, of which 815 were married or in a civil partnership. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd February 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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- All TUC press releases can be found at
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews

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