Co-op has introduced new measures to support its employees and their partners that have been affected by pregnancy loss.
Created in partnership with the Miscarriage Association, the new dedicated pregnancy loss policy was designed to support employees affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, embryo transfer loss, molar pregnancy and termination of pregnancy for any reason.
Co-op’s announcement comes after both Monzo and Channel 4 introduced similar policies for employees following a pregnancy loss in the last few weeks.
The retail giant said flexible paid leave for individuals and their partners, time off for medical appointments, and emergency leave for workers would all be offered to employees as part of the new measures.
Managers will be coached on how to offer practical and emotional support to those going through loss, and employees will have 24 hour access to GP support through the firm’s Smart Health virtual service,
The retailer said the new policy had been devised after feedback from its 63,000 employees showed it needed to do more to support those experiencing pregnancy loss.
“Losing a baby at any stage in a pregnancy is a devastating experience,” said Co-op chief financial officer Shirine Khoury-Haq.
“The decision to discuss that with your employer is an incredibly difficult and personal one. Having lost our eldest daughter and having suffered several miscarriages myself and with our surrogate, I understand just how difficult it is to navigate your personal and professional life during such heartbreak.
“By creating a supportive environment, companies can go a long way in easing the stress that people in this situation often feel,” she said.
Caroline Nokes, chair of the government’s women and equalities committee said Co-op was making the change needed “to break the taboo.”
“It’s great to see the Co-op’s announcement place particular emphasis on the bereavement and grief of a pregnancy loss, rather than it being characterised as a “parental” issue,” Nokes said.
“This will ensure colleagues get the right level of support at a time when they most need it.
“By increasing understanding, changing attitudes and promoting compassion amongst its colleagues, Co-op is making that step-change needed to break the taboo. I hope more businesses follow suit and rise to the challenge to help both existing and future employees,” she added.