Time off for bereavement

The benefits of a bereavement policy

It's a good idea for your workplace to have a policy that covers time off and pay for bereavement.

A policy helps make clear:

  • how much time off and pay staff are entitled to
  • how managers can respond and support staff after a death

Even if there is a policy, employers should make some allowances. For example, a recently bereaved person may not be in the right frame of mind to check it straight away.

What a bereavement policy should include

A bereavement policy should cover:

  • how soon the bereavement should be reported
  • who can report it, for example, a member of the employee's family if the employee is not able to do it themselves
  • who it should be reported to, for example, the employee's line manager
  • what happens if the person who died is not a child or dependant
  • how much leave is provided
  • how much pay is provided
  • how the leave is classed by the employer, for example 'compassionate' or 'bereavement' leave
  • what happens if an employee needs more time off than stated in the policy
  • how the employee's return to work is managed, for example whether they can return on reduced hours if they're not ready to return full time

If there's no policy

If there's no bereavement policy, the employer must follow the law. They should also try to be as fair as they can.

For example, they can look at how bereavement has been managed previously to help decide how it should be managed now or in the future.

It’s good practice to support your employee as much as you can.

Last reviewed