Co-op has launched a pregnancy loss policy to support its colleagues through bereavement and grief.
The policy includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth, embryo transfer loss, molar pregnancy and termination of pregnancy for any reason
The policy is part of Co-op’s drive to create a truly inclusive workplace and deliver a fairer world for colleagues. It 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, stage of the pregnancy and whatever their length of service or contracted hours.
Created in partnership with the Miscarriage Association, the policy includes a range of flexible support, including flexible paid leave; a guide for managers to provide appropriate practical and emotional support; time off for medical appointments and access to counselling; access to emergency leave for colleagues if a member of their family suffers a pregnancy loss; and access to GP support 24 hours a day.
Speaking about the new policy, Shirine Khoury-Haq, Co-op Chief Financial Officer and CEO of Life Services, said, “Losing a baby at any stage in a pregnancy is a devastating experience.”
“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.”
“I am very proud that the Co-op is recognising and supporting our colleagues at a time when they need it most.”
The majority of us plan for most things in life; holidays, weddings and house moves, but many of us don’t plan in the same way for a pregnancy, not realising that in fact, a planned pregnancy is much more likely to be a healthier one.
In England, currently 45% of pregnancies and around one third of all births are unplanned or associated with feelings of ambivalence, emphasising the importance of ensuring that anyone of reproductive age is aware of the ways they can optimise their health and wellbeing before falling pregnant to reduce their risk of complications.
Infertility affects nearly 3.5 million adults of working age, that is around 1 in 7 couples. The World Health Organisation recognised it as a ‘disease of the reproductive system’.
A recent survey by independent fertility practitioner Sandra Greenbank showed that the majority of employees in large organisations who are undergoing treatment are doing so without a fertility policy in place.
And a staggering 87 per cent of those surveyed agreed that they would be more loyal to an organisation carrying a comprehensive policy, with 81 per cent stating that it would make the company a more attractive employment prospect. Quite simply put, if your organisation has a policy it is likely to have a beneficial impact on employee retention, satisfaction and productivity.