Co-op introduces employee pregnancy loss policy

Co-op transfers employees to defined contribution scheme

Supermarket retailer Co-op has launched a dedicated policy to support its employees through a pregnancy loss.

The policy is part of Co-op’s drive to create an inclusive workplace and deliver a fairer world for its 63,000 staff. It includes miscarriage, stillbirth, embryo transfer loss, molar pregnancy and pregnancy termination, and supports both parents who have been affected – whether it happens directly to them, their partner or their baby’s surrogate mother – regardless of the nature of their loss or the stage of the pregnancy.

Created in partnership with the Miscarriage Association, the policy includes a range of support, such as flexible paid leave for the affected employee, partners and surrogates, time off for medical appointments, and access to help and counselling through Co-op’s wellbeing app Lifeworks. Emergency leave is also available for staff if a member of their family suffers a pregnancy loss, as well as access to GP support for employees and their families 24 hours a day through Co-op’s Smart Health virtual service.

According to Co-op, it will be equipping managers with a guide to provide appropriate practical and emotional support to those going through loss in order to help open up conversations in the workplace.

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Shirine Khoury-Haq, Co-op’s chief financial officer and CEO of life services, explained that by creating a supportive environment, businesses can go a long way in easing the stress that people in this situation often feel.

“With a dedicated policy in place, our affected colleagues will be reassured in knowing that we will support them through the most difficult of times. We hope to change attitudes and promote compassion among our employees, both present and future. This is another step in creating a truly inclusive workplace and delivering a fairer world for our colleagues. I am very proud that the Co-op is recognising and supporting our staff at a time when they need it most,” she said.