How To Manage Bereavement Leave

Human Resources 6th March 2017

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently announced that her Company intended to double its bereavement leave allowance giving employees 20 days off work to grieve for immediate family members.

Sandberg has spoken publicly about the death of her husband in 2015, and in a statement issued via social media, she said: ‘We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and aging parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss’. 

There are many sensitive issues to deal with in the workplace and arguably managing bereavement leave is one of the hardest.

It’s a fine balancing act, you are naturally conscious of the needs of your staff and the importance of supporting them during one of the most stressful and upsetting times in their lives; but you also have a business to think about. 

Let’s consider the legislation when it comes to bereavement leave. In the UK, there is no statutory right to receive paid leave after the death of a loved one or a family member. Workers are however entitled to take a ‘reasonable amount’ of unpaid time off when they suffer a bereavement.

Ultimately, this means that it’s down to you to decide what’s fair and reasonable and how to strike a balance between being a sympathetic, supportive employer, and ensuring that the day-to-day operational requirements are met. 

The issue of bereavement leave is something that you might not have thought about unless you have been faced with this situation, but it’s important that you have a robust policy in place to guide you and your Managers.

Creating a bereavement policy is not a pleasant task, however, having clear guidelines in place is likely to save you, and your staff, a great deal of heartache in the longer term. 

If you would like advice on drafting and implementing policies, please fill in the Contact Form here or call us on 01604 763494 today to arrange your no-obligation discussion.

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