Here at Co-op we understand that losing a child is a devastating experience for any colleague. We want to support to parents if this happens and will always handle things as sensitively as possible.

Crucial bits

We’ll give any parent who loses a child under 18, 4 weeks paid leave. This includes colleagues who experience a still-birth from 24 weeks, adoptive parents, foster parents, intended parents and anyone who looks after a child day-to-day.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked here or how many hours you work; all colleagues are entitled to this leave with pay. If you’re eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay, we’ll top this up to full pay.

We just ask that you let your manager know as soon as you can if you need to take parental bereavement leave, so they can give you the support you need. A call or text is fine.

Just so it’s clear, this Policy should be used instead of the Compassionate Leave Policy.

Things to think about

It’s up to you how you take parental bereavement leave. You just need to take it within 56 weeks of your child’s death. So you can take all the leave immediately, or use some later on for significant events, like anniversaries or birthdays. If you’re on other family leave – like maternity or paternity – and want to take parental bereavement leave after this, that’s fine. It’s just important that you take it when you need it.

If you want to take leave later, we’ll ask you to give a bit more notice, so discuss your plans with your manager. Just so you know, we might ask you to fill in a short form to help us make all the necessary arrangements.

Leave can usually be taken in blocks of at least a week, but we’ll always try to be flexible if you want to take a shorter period off at a time.

Remember that Co-op offers free funeral services for children and colleagues in Funeralcare can help you. If you’d like more information you can visit your local funeral home, call 0808 239 7868 or see the website.

We understand that you might need time to adjust and come to terms with what’s happened. If you feel you need a change to your working arrangements to help with this, talk to your manager. You can also look at our policy on flexible working to see if this might help.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about parental bereavement leave and pay, 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. 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.