EXCLUSIVE: Central Co-op enhances fertility and pregnancy policies

Central England Co-op rewards 7,400 frontline staff with Covid-19 bonusRetail organisation Central Co-op has launched enhanced fertility treatment and pregnancy loss polices today (20 April) as part of its commitment to creating an inclusive workplace.

The fertility treatment policy was introduced to enable staff, partners and surrogates to take paid time off for up to 10 appointments per cycle for up to three fertility treatment cycles, as well as ensuring they are able to support their partner. Central Co-op also signposted the counselling and wellbeing support available through the business’ employee assistance programme (EAP).

Central Co-op worked with Fertility Matters at Work, which raises awareness of how fertility issues affect people at work, as part of its commitment to becoming a fertility-friendly employer.

Its pregnancy loss initiative offers assistance for staff and partners affected by all types of loss by providing five days of paid leave depending on circumstances. This is part of its understanding that loss whenever it happens during a pregnancy is a type of bereavement and support at work is crucial.

According to the retailer, the policies were formed as part of a wider focus on employee wellbeing, along with its menopause support policy, wellbeing hub, an EAP that offers free counselling and free annual health check, and virtual GP service. It will exercise discretion for both policies if staff require more support.

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To support the launch, Central Co-op and Fertility Matters at Work planned a webinar to help create a better understanding of the fertility treatment journey by sharing the personal experiences of guest panellists.

Sarah Dickins, chief member, customer and people officer at Central Co-op, said: “We care about the wellbeing of all our staff and are committed to creating an inclusive workplace. By listening to our Colleague Voice forums, we know that for many of our workers infertility and pregnancy loss can make the journey to parenthood upsetting and challenging. We want to open up the conversation and create a workplace where all employees feel supported when they need it most.”