Here at the Co-op we want to support our colleagues when someone close to them dies or is seriously ill.

We want everyone to ask for the support they need and will always handle things as sensitively as possible.

Crucial Bits

We know that modern life can be complicated, so there aren’t restrictions about the relationships or situations that we give compassionate leave for. We also know that the death of someone close, or finding out about a terminal diagnosis, can affect people in different ways, so we want to provide the right support to everyone.

We’ll always give colleagues a reasonable amount of unpaid leave when a dependant dies. We’ll also give you at least one day paid leave if you need to attend a funeral of a dependant. But we’d like to go further than this, so talk to your manager about what’s happened and agree what kind of support you need, including any leave.

It’s important that you contact your manager as soon as possible if you need to take compassionate leave, so that we know what’s happening and how we can support you.

We also want you to know that we have a separate Parental Bereavement Policy if you lose a child under 18 and a Pregnancy Loss Policy for loss of pregnancy during the first 24 weeks.

Things to think about

We’ll usually agree more days of compassionate leave when your relationship is really close with the person who’s died or is ill and less when you’re not as close. As a guide, we’ll generally give up to 5 days paid leave – but some situations may need more, or less. Your manager will decide, so talk to them about your circumstances.

Sometimes you’ll just need a day to attend a funeral, but sometimes longer if you need to travel. We’ll also respect different religious practices, so let us know what you need.

Things may change, so if you need more time off than first agreed we’ll talk about taking holidays or unpaid leave. We understand that you’ll be concerned about your pay. So we’ll do our best to limit the effect wherever we can, like agreeing with you to make up the time where it’s possible. We want your pay to be right, so this should be recorded as either Paid or Unpaid Compassionate Leave, as agreed with your manager.

You might want to make a longer-term change to your work if you need to care for someone who is seriously ill, so take a look at our policies on Flexible working and career breaks to see if these might help.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about compassionate leave, please speak to your manager. If managers need advice they can contact ER Services.

This is bound to be a tough time, so remember that your GP can offer support for grief or depression. You can also access GP support through Smart Health, the Co-op's virtual health service, which offers free & confidential GP appointments to all colleagues and their dependants. You can call them to book an appointment on 020 3499 0167 – you'll need to have the policy code LG012363 to hand to book.

Remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.

There are other things available to support you emotionally, practically and financially. This handy guide has all of our other support that you can access as a Co-op colleague.

Short Practical Guides

We’ve partnered with Cruse to support people to have better bereavement conversations so that no one has to deal with grief alone. Visit coop.co.uk/griefsupport to find out more.