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Co-Op Overhauls Compassionate Leave Policy

The Co-op has introduced a new compassionate leave policy - and it's hoping other companies will follow suit.

The policy doubles the existing bereavement leave, providing up to 10 days of paid leave, ensuring no employee feels unsupported when they face the loss of a loved one.

With an overwhelming 56% of employees in Sussex considering bereavement leave as a crucial issue, this compassionate policy addresses a significant need. The statistics are clear: 48% of workers in Sussex took less than a week off after a loss, while 16% received no leave at all. This lack of support can have a profound impact on individuals, affecting their productivity, health, and overall well-being.

The call is for all companies to follow this approach – the policy from the Co-op is open, free and available to download – so any company can use it as a starting point.

Compassionate leave is more than just time off. It's about acknowledging that grief is a deeply personal journey and that people need space to process their emotions and cope with their loss. By offering paid compassionate leave, companies are demonstrating their commitment to their employees' well-being, fostering a more empathetic and supportive workplace culture.

The impact of grief on productivity and health cannot be ignored. Employees struggling with bereavement may face reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and physical and mental health issues. By providing the necessary support, compassionate leave policies can help alleviate these issues, ensuring employees have the time and space they need to heal and find their footing once again.

This compassionate leave policy sets a new standard in workplace bereavement support. By openly sharing this policy, companies are encouraged to follow suit and provide their employees with the empathy and understanding they deserve in their time of need. With bereavement leave emerging as a top concern for UK workers, alongside flexible working and mental health support, it's time for companies to put people first and embrace policies that truly make a difference in their employees' lives.

Co-op case study

Debbie Williams, a Store Manager, knows firsthand the impact that grief can have on an individual's life. Three years ago, she lost her mother and was supported by her Area Manager who helped her through the difficult time. The support she received not only helped her deal with her loss but also changed how she supports her team through bereavement.

Recently, Debbie used the new compassionate leave policy to support one of her team members who had lost a loved one. The policy allowed her to provide her direct report with the flexibility and support needed during this difficult time. Through the policy, Debbie was able to provide paid leave and other resources to help her colleague through during their grief.

Debbie's story is just one example of how Co-op's new compassionate leave policy is making a real difference in the lives of its employees. It's a testament to the importance of providing support to employees during times of grief and loss.

Speaking about her experience, Debbie said:

"Losing my mother was a difficult and painful experience. But the support I received from my Area Manager helped me through the tough times. It's changed the way I support my team members through bereavement, and the new compassionate leave policy has been instrumental in providing the flexibility and support needed during difficult times."

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