The Society is continually reviewing the situation in relation to the coronavirus and how this develops over the coming days and weeks. This page will be your up to source of information for the coronavirus.
To contact the HR Advice Line please call 01926 516 469 (lines open from 7am - 8pm)
(As you might expect, the HR advice line are experiencing a high volume of calls but it is really important that you receive immediate advice and guidance so if you are unable to connect first time, please call back rather than leave a voicemail message. If your query is non-corona virus related then please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
For Coronavirus FAQs please click here
Some information on these pages is private. If you are part of the leadership team please sign in to view this information.
Click Here to Read the Latest Updates
Update as of 06/04/20
Click here to view our update on Thank You, Home Delivery & Remembering from Afar
Update as of 05/04/20
Click here to view our update on Thank you, Mental Health Wellbeing & Colleague Protection
Update as of 04/04/20
Click here to view our update from Phil Ponsonby to our members
Update as of 03/04/20
Click here to view our update from Phil Ponsonby on responding to the crisis
Update as of 02/04/20
Click here to view our update on Home Deliveries, Childcare for Key Workers & Colleague Protection
Update as of 01/04/20
Click here to view our update, a message from our Society President, Helen Wiseman
Update as of 31/03/20
Click here to view our update on Thank you, Community Deliveries & PR with Local Suppliers
Update as of 30/03/20
Click here to view our update on Coronavirus - Thank you, Update on Colleague Reward
Update as of 29/03/20
Click here to view our update on Coronavirus Update Reminder - Colleague reward and Protecting Colleagues & Customers
Update as of 28/03/20
Click here to view our update on Colleague reward and Protecting Colleagues & Customers
Update as of 27/03/20
Click here to view Phil's blog on Coronavirus Update, Supporting Our Stores & Thanking Colleagues
Update as of 26/03/20
Click here to view our update on Thumbs Up, Response to Colleagues & Colleague Protection
Update as of 25/03/20
Click here to view our update on Colleague Update, HR Policies, Wellbeing & Thumbs Up
Update as of 24/03/20
Click here to view our update on Thank you, Colleague Protection, HR Policies & #TeamMC
Update as of 23/03/20
Click here to view our update on Thank you to all Colleagues, Business Update, Colleague Protection
Update as of 22/03/20
Click here to view our update on Thank you, business update, key worker status, pay review, colleague welfare
Update as of 21/03/20
Click here to view our update on Food & Travel, Key Worker Status and more...
Update as of 20/03/20
Click here to view our update from CEO Phil Ponsonby to all Colleagues.
Update as of 19/03/20
Click here to read our update Thank You to All Colleagues, Next Steps and Fast Track Recruitment
Update as of 18/03/20
Click here to read our update Redeployment, Fast Track Recruitment, Business Updates and a Thank You
Update as of 17/03/20
Click here to read our update on Advice For Vulnerable Colleagues, Members and Head Office Arrangements.
Update as of 16/03/20
Click here to read our update on how we are working closely with USDAW and protecting our colleagues' safety and wellbeing while at work.
Update as of 15/03/20
Click here to read the Steering Action on Coronavirus.
Update as of 11/03/20
We are today announcing a number of measures intended to reduce risks and prioritise frontline operations in the wake of the uncertainty and concerns relating to the COVID-19 virus. Whilst I understand that the number of UK cases is still relatively low, it is vitally important that we prepare for worst-case scenarios and play our part in slowing down the spread of this virus by reducing interactions and suspending some activities which are not supporting our day to day trading operations.
We will continue to prioritise our customer-facing activities, and this may lead to the reallocation of resources to meet demand where necessary. I would ask that our colleagues and wider stakeholders work with us during this time and I am sure our collective effort will make a difference and in particular assist us in supporting the vulnerable members of our wider Society.
We have established a steering group to ensure co-ordination of all our activities. We will ensure Colleague Connect is used as the main communication channel to all colleagues.
We have taken some immediate steps to both help limit the spread of the virus and to help support our customer-facing colleagues. These steps include canceling or postponing all non-essential meetings, colleague or member gatherings during March.
We will continue to review internal events scheduled to take place in April or May and will keep you informed of any changes to those.
We have also taken the decision to generally suspend all community volunteering activity until the end of March but are working with our partner organisations to ensure we continue to offer other support.
We will continue to review our policies & working practices to ensure that these are reflective of the current situation and that they enable all of us to react appropriately to changing circumstances.
If you want further clarification about these points or have any queries, please speak to your line manager.
Thank you for your continued support during this time,
General Guidance and Contact Details
The Society is continually reviewing the situation in relation to the Coronavirus and how this develops over the coming days and weeks. However, with the situation ever evolving it is important that you also keep yourself up to date with any developments. Below are some useful links which can provide you the most up to date information regarding the Coronavirus.
- NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Gov.uk - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
- World Health Organisation - https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
If you are entering into self-isolation or have a confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus please inform your line manager and contact the HR Advice Line - 01926 516 469 to seek advice on any queries or questions regarding how this impacts their employment or how any time away from the society will be treated.
Our Chief Operating Officers are looking at preventative measures within their respective trading groups, one such measure will be ensuring that hand sanitizers are available for all colleagues to use. Colleagues can also take their own preventative measures to avoid the spread of the infection through basic hygiene practices for example –
- Wash your hands with soap and water often
- Using hand sanitizers regularly where available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
The Society will continue to review the situation and how this evolves, and such policies will be under constant review. See below for the latest FAQs.
Media/Press enquiries: As a Colleague, should you be approached by any member of the press/media please direct them to Citypress - 0121 314 4197 - email@example.com
Job Retention Scheme
Job Retention Scheme - Furlough Leave
The Government recently announced a range of measures to support businesses and individuals affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. One of those measures is the introduction of the Job Retention Scheme. The scheme is open to all employers regardless of their size. It is intended to avoid the need for redundancies as a result of the financial impact Coronavirus is having on our economy.
As you know from our previous updates, like many businesses, the Society is significantly impacted by Coronavirus. We are seeing substantial downturns in our travel and childcare businesses, which are likely to continue for some time. Although these are offset by increased demand in areas such as food, pharmacy and funeral care, we need to act to protect the long-term future of our business. Our colleagues being as flexible as possible by supporting in other areas has been a fantastic help. However, we also need to use the Job Retention Scheme to protect jobs in the long-term.
The scheme enables employers to place colleagues on “furlough leave”, where there is no work for them to do. Whilst on furlough leave, the Government will meet up to 80% of the colleague’s wages per month (up to £2,500 each month). The great thing about the scheme is that once things improve, furlough leave will end, and the affected colleagues will return to their normal role.
Not all our colleagues will be affected by this scheme and we will be contacting you if you are. We are sure you will have lots of questions about how it may work and have prepared an FAQ to help answer some of those, which can be found here.
The answers in the FAQ are based on what we know so far. This is an entirely new scheme and we are waiting for the Government to publish full details. We will share that information and update the FAQ as soon as we know more
20% discount in food stores for every Society colleague from today for 4 weeks
For all colleagues who are currently working in our trading branches, be that Childcare, Food, Post Offices, Healthcare or Funeral. This also includes those that colleagues who have been redeployed into a trading branch from their normal place of work:
For the next 4 weeks, all customer-facing front line colleagues will receive a 10% bonus on the base rate of pay for hours actually worked from the start of next week.
Any customer-facing front line colleague that currently has a child in our nursery, will receive enhanced discount from 30% to 50% again from Monday.
All food and post office front line colleagues will receive a meal deal on each day they are working.
Funeral and healthcare colleagues will be able to claim back the equivalent of the cost of a meal deal £3.50 on the days they are working in front line operations.
Childcare colleagues can get lunch through the nursery kitchen on the days they are at work.
We have also made arrangements with Creed for Childcare colleagues to receive food delivery parcels. Whilst these will be charged for, it does provide a shopping service for those colleagues who are at work in nurseries.
All these arrangements will be in place for the next 4 weeks at which point we will review the current situation.
Details of how these will be applied and FAQ’s:
Will the 10% bonus include overtime?
Yes, we are grateful for the number of extra hours colleagues are working at the moment in order to support our local communities and overtime will therefore be included. The 10% will be calculated on the basic rate of the total number of hours worked (i.e. the premium element of overtime will not form part of the 10% calculation).
Will the 10% bonus be for actual hours worked for management colleagues too?
If you do not ordinarily receive overtime for additional hours worked you are classed as salaried, and therefore your 10% will be based on your normal salary for the 4-weekly period, not actual hours worked.
When will we receive the 10% bonus?
To ensure that it is paid on actual hours worked the first payment will be made in the May payroll. The 10% bonus will be paid on hours worked from 29/03/2020 to 25/04/2020, which are the adjustment weeks and will be paid on the pay date 07/05/2020
I am on a zero-hour contract, will I get the 10% bonus?
Yes, you will be entitled to the 10% bonus but as it is paid on actual hours worked you will receive your first bonus payment in May payroll.
I am currently absent from work due to self-isolation or shielding, will I get the 10% bonus?
Unfortunately not, the 10% bonus will only be paid to those who are in work.
When will we receive the 10% bonus if I am a leaver?
For leavers the 10% will be paid for all hours worked from 29/03/2020 to their leave date or 24/04/2020 (whichever’s earlier), this will be paid on 07/05/20.
I am redeployed into Food stores from Support Services / Central Support, will I be eligible for the 10% bonus?
This will be reviewed on a case by case basis dependent on the terms and conditions of the redeployed colleague. This will be confirmed at the time of your placement.
The pay review is going to be applied from 1st April 2020, what rate of pay will the bonus be based on?
The 10% bonus will be based on the applicable rate of pay from 1st April 2020.
I work in Food, is there an option to have £3.50 to spend in store instead of the meal deal?
Unfortunately not, the offer is for a meal deal only on the day that you are working.
I have already paid my April Childcare fee’s so how will the further 20% discount be applied?
Your Nursery Manager will work with the Head Office support team to enable your bill to be accurately reflected. Depending on how you have paid, you will either have a credit on your account which can either be refunded (if paid by Direct Debit, bank transfer or Parent Zone ) or the credit can sit as a positive balance on your account if you've paid by salary sacrifice or childcare voucher.
Does the 10% bonus apply to Childcare colleagues?
Yes, the 10% bonus includes all customer facing colleagues.
How will I get my CREED Food order?
Colleague orders will be delivered to the nursery as per each nursery's ordinary delivery dates.
How long will these additional benefits be in place?
The rewards will be in place for a minimum of 4 weeks. We will review them after that to see how they are working and whether they remain affordable. We haven't decided yet whether they will be varied, extended or changed at that point but will keep you updated.
The last 2 weeks have also been really challenging. Why are you not backdating these benefits to cover that period?
As you are aware, the circumstances over the last few weeks have been extremely volatile and very fast moving. As a result have had to make decisions as and when we have been sure that they are in keeping with our values, in the interests of our colleagues’ long term security and the Society’s affordability in a very challenging climate. In order to protect these key criteria, we have decided that this bonus should be a go forward position only and we will review it in 4 weeks’ time.
Will the 10% bonus be taxed?
Yes, the bonus payments will be subject to the usual deductions of tax and NI.
I work in Head Office, why won’t I receive the 10% bonus?
The 10% bonus is for colleagues who are in customer facing roles. That is to recognise their commitment to serving our customers at a very difficult time. If our Head Office colleagues are able to redeploy into customer facing roles, they may also be eligible for this bonus for the hours that they work in our customer facing operations, dependent on their terms and conditions.
Colleagues in support services will benefit from the colleague discount of 20% in our food stores for 4 weeks.
I currently don’t have my child in a Co-operative Nursery, but would like to do this to take advantage of the 50% discount is that possible?
The 50% colleagues discount applies to colleagues' children in our childcare nurseries. If you would like to enrol your child into one of the childcare nurseries, please contact the Childcare customer services team on 0800 9540669.
Wellbeing Tips for Coronavirus
Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here:
Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water (sing ‘happy birthday’ to yourself twice to make sure you do this for 20 seconds). You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straight away, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity.
You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly if you don’t have a tissue sneeze into your sleeve and stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Try to stay connected
At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family or contact a helpline for emotional support.
Also, don’t forget the support colleagues can get from GroceryAid click here for more information.
It is a good idea to stick to your daily routine. You may also like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to:
Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Talk to your children
Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need to be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm.
We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible.
Let’s not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate for them. We have more advice on talking with your children about world news.
Try to anticipate distress
It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.
Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone.
Try not to make assumptions
Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance.
It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.
How should people deal with being in self-isolation or in quarantine?
If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).
For people that are in self-isolation or are in quarantine, this may seem like a daunting prospect. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.
Make sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing and mental health during such times.
Follow our top tips to look after yourself:
- If you find that the news is causing you stress, try to limit the amount of coverage that you are reading or listening to. It's best that you don't avoid news completely and that you keep informed of the developments but try to limit this to once a day.
- Be in touch with friends and family regularly to stay connected with them via social media, email or phone, it may change your normal routine but it's important to feel close to them when feeling worried or anxious.
- If you are unable to work, it's important that you create a new routine through exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies to keep busy and active.
- Eating well and keeping hydrated is important for physical and mental health, and good for keeping on top of low mood and blood sugar levels.
- Help the vulnerable. If you can get out, think of those that it's more difficult for. Why not help the elderly or sick with their shopping or weekly errands to ensure they are kept safe.
Your GroceryAid Wellbeing Tips:
How can GroceryAid Help? Click here for more information.
- Self-Help Guides
We have various Self-Help Guides available through our partner Rightsteps from day one of working in the grocery industry. 5 Ways to Wellbeing, Anxiety, Healthy Eating, Low Mood, Physical Activity are just some of the topics available to work through for help.
- Wellbeing Sessions
Ideal for those looking to make lasting changes in their lives you have access to a more structured self-guided support. There are 6-8 sessions lasting approx. 45 minutes each. Sessions include topics such as General Anxiety, Learning to Change, Low Mood, Social Anxiety.
- 24/7 Helpline - 08088 021 122
GroceryAid provides a confidential 24/7 Helpline, 365 days a year for anyone who is working or has worked within the grocery trade, regardless of the length of service. This free service provides emotional and practical support to help through a difficult time.
Find out more:
We are following all advice provided by WHO, PHE and the NHS:
School Closures and Being a Key Worker
Further to the Government’s announcement that schools and educational settings are closing in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government has asked that, where possible, they remain open for children whose parents are employed in key worker roles.
As such, The Midcounties Co-operative is a community-owned co-operative society, which operates several businesses. Those parts of our business which are dependent upon colleagues within the Government’s critical workers list are: Food retail, Post Office, Healthcare, Childcare, Funeralcare, and Utilities.
Therefore any colleague who is currently working in one of those businesses, this includes any Travel colleagues who have been redeployed, or work in our support services which are integral to the continued operations of those businesses, fall under the Governments guidance on Key worker status.
You will shortly be provided with a letter to confirm this, however, you should make contact with them to advise them as soon as possible. This will be sent shortly to your line manager.
However, if you do have a child in a nursery, school or college and you want them to continue to attend, you should contact them as soon as possible and show the letter to the appropriate person at the school once received.
Kronos - Coronavirus Guidance
The Workforce Management Team are currently receiving a high volume of queries, please raise a ServiceNow Incident in the first instance, so we can deal with your query accordingly.
When submitting the timecards for week ending 4TH April 2020, any colleagues that have been furloughed, please submit the colleagues timecards as normal with hours worked
If managers are out of the business and unable to submit the timecards, please use the Delegation action for another manager to process for you, click here for the user guide. Please ensure you speak to the manager you are delegating too, to make them aware.
A communication about Furloughed colleagues, going forward, will be sent out later today.
During this challenging time, please can you ensure that colleagues' exceptions are managed accurately and promptly to ensure that colleagues are paid correctly.
For colleagues that are off sick due to self-isolation/Covid-19, you must add a comment within the comments field to the colleague’s timecard. Please refer to the user guide or video below for more information.
Where eligible, the government have indicated to pay SSP from day one, however we are awaiting confirmation as legal changes have not been implemented yet as the Covid-19 emergency bill is going through the system. An update will follow as soon as it is available.
Logging Self-Isolation for Pregnant colleagues:
If you have a colleague that is self-isolating due to Pregnancy, please use the pay code of ‘Authorised Absence Paid’ instead of ‘Sick’ and add the comment (Covid-19 -Pregnant-Maternity) to the timecard as normal.
Any pregnant colleagues that were recorded as ‘Sick’ last week, will be amended manually by the Workforce Management Team/Payroll. No Historical Corrections will need to be put through to correct.
Please be aware that the Workforce Management team are unable to give out colleague sickness information.
Refer to Colleague Handbook for Sick entitlement, within the Policies and Procedures page.
Annual Leave Carryover
For colleagues that need to carry over annual leave into next year's entitlement, please follow the guide by clicking here.
Annual Leave carryover MUST be approved by Area/District Manager and will then be approved by the Head of HR Specialist Services, before it reaches the WFM team to process.
Please continue to look at Colleagues Connect for updates.
Essential Business Critical Repairs - Property Services Helpdesk
Please be aware that from Thursday 19th March, the Property Services Helpdesk will be enacting measures whereby all non-essential works will be suspended due to the current Coronavirus crisis throughout the UK. Therefore we ask that works requests are raised only for essential business critical repairs going forward.
All Property Team members will be working remotely, and whilst the service to the trading groups will be retained and will function as normal. In the case of any emergency, should you not be able to reach the Helpdesk phone number, whether it be In Hours or Out of Hours can you please liaise with the Contractors on the below lists direct in order to report the emergency, and then raise a works request via Property ServiceNow here as per the normal process so the Property Team are aware.
- Click here for a 24 Hour Emergency Contact List for Childcare.
- Click here for the Non-Childcare list for all other trading groups.
Thank you for your cooperation with the above,
The Property Services Team
Travelling Abroad Form
If you are planning to travel, please can you ensure you check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for advice beforehand.
If you decide to travel despite restrictions and/or warnings in place, please can you complete and submit the below form before you travel.