Time off work for bereavement

The benefits of a bereavement policy

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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 policy might say that an employee should tell their line manager about a bereavement straight away. But a recently bereaved person might not feel emotionally able to do this. They might be off work for a few days before telling their line manager about the death.

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.

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Please do not include any personal information, for example email address or phone number. Unfortunately we cannot respond to individual requests for information. If you need help, contact our helpline on 0300 123 1100