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Wellbeing The Future of Work Work & Wellbeing

Co-op becomes latest brand to announce pregnancy loss policy


By Ellen Ormesher, Senior Reporter

June 24, 2021 | 4 min read

More than one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage – around a quarter of a million in the UK each year. Co-op is the latest major UK brand to launch a dedicated pregnancy loss policy for its employees, joining the likes of Channel 4 and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Co-op worker

Co-op is the latest in a series of organizations to announce improvements to its policy

Created to support workers through the bereavement and grief of a pregnancy loss – which in this case 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 wider incentive to create an inclusive workplace.

It supports both parents who have been affected, whether it happens directly to them, their partner or their baby’s surrogate mother, and regardless of the nature of their loss, stage of the pregnancy and whatever their length of service or contracted hours.

What is it offering?

  • Flexible paid leave, tailored to best provide support for individual circumstances.

  • Paid leave for the partners of those who experience pregnancy loss, as well as colleagues who are intended parents and experience pregnancy loss with a surrogate, to ensure all those affected are supported.

  • Time off for medical appointments, access to support and counselling for bereavement and grief through Lifeworks (a wellbeing app for Co-op colleagues) and also signposting to other organizations at the end of the policy to support specific types of pregnancy loss.

  • Access to emergency leave for colleagues if a member of their family suffers a pregnancy loss.

  • Access to GP support available to colleagues and their families 24 hours a day through Co-op’s Smart Health virtual service, providing psychologist-led mental health support, complex case support, second medical opinions and proactive health guidance.

  • Co-op is also providing a guide for managers to help provide appropriate practical and emotional support to those going through loss.

Why is Co-op doing it?

  • Co-op is making the policy publicly available today to help colleagues, members and communities to break the taboo of pregnancy loss by providing support and encouraging more people to talk about the issue.

  • It’s also highlighting that pregnancy loss is an experience that is not isolated to women or heterosexual couples through the inclusive policy.

  • Insight from Co-op’s 63,000 colleagues showed it needed to go further, building on existing support for colleagues while acknowledging pregnancy loss as bereavement and not as sickness.

  • The policy has been devised for all colleagues affected by pregnancy loss, regardless of when or the circumstances for the loss.

Why is it important?

  • More than one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage – probably around a quarter of a million in the UK each year.

  • It is common for people who have miscarried to feel high levels of anxiety in a subsequent pregnancy.

  • Access to information and emotional support has been shown time and time again to help people cope with the experience of loss.

  • Co-op is the latest in a series of organizations to announce improvements to policy in this area. For example, Channel 4 announced its miscarriage policy back in April.

The Drum recently spoke to agency bosses, support organizations and HR experts about how miscarriage policies can help companies bridge gaps in legislation and support bereaved workers. See here for what to know when putting together your firm’s miscarriage policy.

Wellbeing The Future of Work Work & Wellbeing

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