Personal Development
Bereavement Leave: What It Is and How It Works

Bereavement Leave: What It Is and How It Works

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

The Compassionate Value of Offering Bereavement Leave

Employers are responsible for looking out for their employees' well-being. This includes providing quality resources and understanding the need for bereavement leave, employee handbooks, laws and regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and PTO/Sick time all in order to ensure clear and helpful policies regarding mental and emotional stress management.

When a loved one passes away, it can leave a person with a heavy burden of emotional stress, logistical tasks, and financial and administrative duties all while trying to grieve and process their loss. Not to mention the reality of what has happened.

Bereavement leave is a way for employers to continue to support their employees by providing them with time off from work after the passing of a close family member. This allows them to attend memorials or ceremonies, handle any necessary paperwork, and take the time they need to grieve.

No National Mandated Policy for Bereavement Leave

Unfortunately, there is no federal regulation regarding bereavement leave, leaving it up to the discretion of each company to decide what they can offer. Though offering leave isn't just morally right, it is also advantageous for the company: employees who feel supported are more likely to stay, and the money spent on bereavement is less than money spent on turnover costs.

Organizations will provide either paid, unpaid, or a combination of both types of bereavement leave. These policies must be crafted to fit the individual company, so it is important to have a formal policy in place to ensure fairness and consistency.

The Importance of Grief Gifted Time

Grief can severely affect an individual's physical and mental health, so it is important that they are allowed the time off to tend to their needs in the form of bereavement leave. A good policy balances the need for time away from work for grieving with the need to return to work in order to maintain their normal life.

Bereavement leave is usually only granted to family members, such as a parent, spouse, child, or sibling, though some companies may offer a day off for a non-immediate family member. In general, a minimum of three days is given for the passing of a close family member, and two weeks of paid leave or more. Though less and less common, some companies may use the relationship to the decedent to decide the duration of leave. In order to receive leave, a death certificate or other forms of documentation is generally required.

Creating a Bereavement Leave Policy

When formulating a bereavement leave policy, there are several elements to consider: how the company defines bereavement, which relationships qualify, the length of leave according to the relationship, whether the leave is paid or unpaid, the obligations that qualify for bereavement time, how to request for leave, and other supplemental benefits and resources offered for grieving employees.

Grieving Employee Support: Tips for Managers and Bereavement Leave Benefits

Managers can be instrumental in providing support to grieving employees. The key is to remain flexible, open up lines of communication, and inform employees of their options, including bereavement leave benefits. Grief can last for anywhere from six months to two years, and in some cases, can become even more severe, leading to depression, anxiety, and further emotional issues.

By understanding the importance of granting employees the time to grieve and offering them the necessary resources to do so, employers can ensure that their employees feel supported and cared for, leading to a healthier, happier, and more motivated workplace.Understanding Bereavement Leave

In the event of a loved one's passing, bereavement leave offers employees the emotional and mental space required to manage both the logistical and emotional aspects of the death. This can be especially helpful when it comes to dealing with any financial or administrative tasks needed to be done. Fortunately, offering bereavement leave is an option that employers can choose to do for their team. Even if it is only one paid day, the message of care and support will be clear.

Making Bereavement Leave Policies

Businesses are becoming more aware of employee well-being and many are including bereavement leave in their employee handbooks. This type of leave can be either paid or unpaid, and is meant to provide time for an employee to cope with the stress of the death of a loved one. Generally, each state or region has laws or regulations regarding bereavement leave, so it is crucial to research these in order to implement the best possible policy.

Manager Responsibilities

Managers have an important role to play in providing a supportive environment for employees who have suffered a bereavement. Some key points to remember for providing effective bereavement support include:

  • Leading with empathy
  • Remaining flexible
  • Keeping communication open
  • Providing employee options, including bereavement leave benefits
  • Acknowledging the need for grieving
  • Recognizing that grief can last up to two years
  • Being aware of potential worsening mental health symptoms
  • Doing research on earlier mentioned any applicable laws or regulations
  • Consider adding a bereavement leave policy to your employee handbook
  • Remembering employee benefits are more than compensation; they are a sign of care and value
  • Creating a supportive and respectful atmosphere

Through implementing effective policies and providing adequate support for those affected by bereavement, managers can ensure their employees receive the care they need during this difficult period. By understanding the importance of bereavement leave and providing an appropriate environment, organizations can better care for their team members.

Join Shiken For FREE

AI-powered learning tools. Create, relax, learn.

Gumbo Study Buddy

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime