Acas publishes new bereavement advice

Acas has published new advice today to help employers handle staff bereavement at work and understand an employee's legal right to time off.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:

"The death of a loved one is a devastating and life changing experience for any employee. It can impact someone at work immediately as well as long-term.

"We also cannot ignore the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on staff who have been unable to grieve in the usual way. Some people could not be with loved ones when they died or were not able to give them a proper send-off.

"Our new bereavement advice can help employers handle these difficult situations in a supportive, compassionate and practical way as well as understanding the law in this area."

Acas advise that it's important for employers to:

  • be sensitive to what each person might need at the time
  • consider the person's physical and emotional wellbeing, including once they've returned to work
  • recognise that grief affects everyone differently, there is no right or wrong way to grieve and it can affect people at different times following a death

Employees have the legal right to unpaid time off for dependants following the death of a parent, partner or someone they live with or care for. A parent of a child under the age of 18 that dies may be entitled to parental bereavement leave which gives a right of up to 2 weeks' time off. If a working parent meets certain eligibility criteria then they could also be entitled to parental bereavement pay.

Acas's full advice covers:

  • leave and pay when someone dies

  • if an employee's child dies

  • if an employee or their partner has a stillbirth or miscarriage

  • parental bereavement leave and pay

  • what to do after a death as an employee

  • supporting an employee after a death

  • if someone at work dies

  • the benefits of a bereavement policy

Read Acas's bereavement advice for employers and employees