Here at the Co-op we want to support colleagues in their civic duties. We know that sometimes you might need to take time off work to appear in court, at an inquest, tribunal or public inquiry - either as a witness or because of a personal legal matter.

Talk to your manager about your situation so you can make arrangements for the time you need.

Crucial bits

If you’re summoned to appear in court for any reason, we’ll always let you take the time off that you need. Tell your manager as soon as possible and they may ask for a copy of your summons or witness order to see the details. If you choose to appear in court, for example as a character witness, you’ll need to agree with your manager about taking time off.

If you attend court on behalf of the Co-op you will continue to receive your normal pay, which means that you can’t claim for loss of earnings from the court. You might still be able to claim for things like your travel and food though, so talk to the court officer. If not, ask your manager about claiming these through the Travel and Personal Expenses Policy.

If you’re appearing in court on behalf of yourself or someone else other than the Co-op, your manager will decide if you’ll get paid for that time, so talk to them about your circumstances. Where time off is unpaid, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings and any expenses from the court, so speak to the court officer about this. If not, we’ll do our best to limit any effect on your pay wherever we can, like agreeing for you to make up the time where it’s possible, or agreeing for you to take holiday.

Things to think about

In exceptional cases, such as an inquest relating to a close family member, your manager may agree to you taking Compassionate Leave.

When you’re in court, you might find that you’re not needed all day. So it’s a good idea to talk to your manager beforehand about whether you need to come into work if this happens, so everyone’s clear on expectations.

We want your pay to be right, so this should be recorded as either Paid or Unpaid Leave, as agreed with your manager. If you’re a member of a Co-op pension scheme and are on unpaid leave beyond four weeks, contact the Co-op Pensions Department as soon as possible to talk about your options.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about time off for court appearances, please speak to your manager. If managers need advice they should contact ER Services.

You may need additional support, so remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can help. You can contact the EAP in confidence on 0800 069 8854.