If a colleague wants to request a career break, here are the steps that we’ll follow:

1) Career Break Request Form

Colleagues need to complete the Career Break Request form below and give it to their manager. They should ideally give at least three months’ notice to help their manager plan ahead.

2) Decision

Managers should meet with the colleague to talk about their request and understand how it might work. It’s useful for managers to take notes about what was discussed.

We’ll carefully consider all requests and only turn them down if we really have to e.g. it’d be hard to get temporary cover or the colleague is working on a crucial project. If we do need to turn down a request, we’ll let the colleague know as soon as possible, explaining the reasons why, and confirm things in a letter (template letter CB1, below). There is no right of appeal.

Managers can agree to accept the career break request but to start at a later date.

3) Before the career break starts

Colleagues should enter their career break on the MyHR system, their manager can also do this for them. For KRONOS/TARA users, the manager will need to notify HR Services on behalf of the colleague by completing the Career Break Notification form.

HR Services will then send a letter to the colleague to confirm all the arrangements.

Managers should carry out a performance review with the colleague before they start their career break. They should also agree plans for taking holiday within the period of leave, at the start or the end.

Managers need to make sure that the colleague returns any Co-op property for example uniform, security pass, mobile phone, laptop and car. They should also agree with the colleague how they’ll keep in touch during the break.

4) Returning to work

If the colleagues return to work date has changed, managers will need to tell HR Services. Managers should also inform HR Services whether they’ve authorised the colleague to carry forward their holidays into the next holiday year, as this won’t happen automatically. HR Services will send managers an automatic Outlook reminder eight weeks before the colleague is due to return to work.

If a colleague decides that they don’t want to come back to work, they’ll need to write to their manager giving contractual notice, ending at the latest on the date the career break is due to end. Just so you’re aware, notice won’t be paid. The manager should then process the colleague on MyHR as a leaver.