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Usdaw welcomes Co-op support for staff affected by pregnancy loss and calls on the Government to follow this lead

Date: 25 June 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s announcement that the Co-operative Group is offering paid leave and time off for medical appointments as part of measures to help staff suffering from a pregnancy loss. The union is asking the Government to follow this welcome lead and extend support to all working parents.
The new policy has been created in partnership with the Miscarriage Association and Usdaw, the trade union for Co-op staff. It supports both parents and includes flexible paid leave, a guide for managers to help offer support, time off for medical appointments and emergency leave for workers if a member of their family suffers a pregnancy loss.
John Gorle – Usdaw National Officer says: “Losing a baby is very distressing for both parents and we welcome the Co-op taking a lead in offering enhanced support for staff going through this. We know that conversations with an employer on such personal issues can be difficult and we’d urge our members to speak to the union, particularly their workplace rep, to ensure they are fully supported.
“In the case of a still birth maternity leave and pay applies, however there are no statutory rights for those who suffer a miscarriage. So businesses like the Co-op who do the right thing and make special leave provisions are welcome, but the Government should ensure that paid leave rights are available to all workers, regardless of their employer.
“We also need to see reform of Statutory Sick Pay, which many mothers rely on when suffering a loss in pregnancy. We have long called for significant improvements in SSP, which plunges many workers into poverty. Low-paid workers should be helped to take necessary time-off by ensuring there is no loss of income.”
Usdaw is calling on the Government to:
  • Improve Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so it reflects average pay, rather than the current £96.35 per week.
  • Pay SSP to low paid workers - those earning below the lower earnings limit of £120 per week currently do not qualify for SSP.
  • Commit to continue paying SSP from day one of absence and not revert to three waiting days. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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