Tesco has launched new entitlements for kinship carers which are in line with those given to adoptive parents, as well as a number of updates to its existing policies.
The supermarket giant is now offering 26 weeks of fully paid leave to UK employees who have a Special Guardianship Order to care for grandchildren or the children of relatives.
According to Tesco, the kinship leave aims to help these carers stay in the workforce while managing their additional responsibilities.
The move is one of a range of family-friendly policies the grocer has unveiled this week to benefit 300,000-plus staff members, including around 2,000 workers a year with its new maternity and adoption provisions.
Other benefits now available include improved maternity leave of 26 weeks at full pay, up to 12 weeks of paid neonatal leave, extended fertility leave of five paid days per treatment cycle for partners, in additional to birth mothers, improved adoption pay of 26 weeks’ fully paid leave and two weeks of paid leave for the loss of a baby in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
James Goodman, Tesco UK people director, said: “We have been really focused on our colleagues’ wellbeing this summer. As well as improving maternity leave for thousands of colleagues, we have introduced a raft of new benefits to help colleagues strike a healthy work-life balance.
“Relatives who take on the care of a child often feel forced to reduce their hours or even leave their jobs as they try to juggle extra responsibilities, and we wanted to step up to offer kinship carers the same support as colleagues who adopt a child.”
Lucy Peake, CEO of Kinship, a national charity for England and Wales, welcomed the move, explaining it will have a significant impact on those with additional caring responsibilities.
She said: “Tesco’s new policy will make an enormous difference to many special guardian kinship carers across the country, who will now be able to take paid time off when to support children who have often experienced trauma and focus on their needs, knowing they will have a job to return to.
“We’re very proud to be working with Tesco as they implement this industry-leading support for special guardians and hope over time it can extended to all kinship carers. We urge other retailers to follow their lead and will soon be launching our Kinship Friendly Employers scheme to encourage employers of all sizes to better support kinship carers in the workforce.”
Joanne Waterworth, head of employer services at Working Families, added: “We are delighted to see that Tesco, an employer member of Working Families, is leading the way in this area and going above and beyond to support their employees in different family situations.”