The typical HR policy for family death leave

Employers understand that workers need time off to grieve the death of a family member or close family friend; however, the law does not require it. Because it’s not required by law, many employers don’t promote bereavement leave the same way they do extended vacation plans or time off to vote.

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Bereavement leave is an employer’s compassionate response to the sadness caused by loss and the need for an employee to take time off to attend to family obligations, potential travel, and then deal with personal challenges during this challenging period. .

The process and outcome of family death time off

When a close relative passes away, the bereaved employee should contact their manager, supervisor or the human resources department as soon as possible.

Funeral arrangements and funeral and memorial ceremonies will require the employee to take time off from the workplace.

To supplement the ability to grant employees death leave, many companies or businesses have begun to require proof of death, such as an obituary or funeral program. When you lose a family member or close friend, a request to provide proof sometimes seems harsh or rude. Years ago, I had a co-worker who claimed the death of her loved ones over and over again, then bragged that “Grandma was alive and well.” So, upon reflection, it’s not hard to understand why an employer might determine that company policy will require some form of testing.

However, in most cases, the corporation does not require written verification or proof of death.

Time and friendship are two crucial factors in life.

The amount of paid leave for an employee is not a right, and it is not the law. The length of time employers will allow an employee to take off with pay, or even without pay, can vary. Employers often determine time off by the employee’s connection to the deceased family member. Sometimes friends aren’t considered a close enough relationship that you can take time off work.

Many companies offer three days of paid time off each year, while other companies offer up to five days of unexplained paid time off. These days are separate from your vacation days and are sometimes called mental health days today. You can use these days in the event of a death.

An example of a policy for free time

An example policy might say the following:

“When an immediate family member passes away, the company will provide up to five days of paid time off. Immediate family includes a child’s parents, step-parents, step-children, and step-siblings, among others. When an extended family member passes away, the company provides three paid days off. There are aunts and uncles and grandparents and grandchildren and in-laws and sisters and brothers-in-law in the extended family.

Workers who lose a parent or other extended family member are entitled to the same five days of paid leave as co-workers who lose a close friend or relative. Whether the state recognizes same-sex weddings or the company offers the same benefits for domestic partners, the employer pays the same amount of bereavement leave regardless of whether the domestic partnership is recognized. If you are traveling out of town to prepare for or attend the funeral of a loved one, you may be granted more time.”


Employees who must perform extended duties in connection with the death of a family member, such as executor duties, may seek additional time off. Employees who need a 30-day leave of absence for personal or work responsibilities may request it from their company. Unpaid leave may be required if they do not have enough vacation days.

Suppose an employee qualifies for a personal leave of absence and the leave does not exceed 30 days. In that case, the employee may be eligible to return to his or her previous position or to a comparable position with similar salary, benefits, and responsibilities.

Time off allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act

If an employee needs additional time off to cope with bereavement or health problems due to the death of a family member, they may be eligible for FMLA leave. This provision went into effect when the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) became law.

Under the FMLA, the amount of time is 12 weeks that an employee can take. This is unpaid leave and it is a time that the law protects. An employee can be absent that amount of time without losing their job, but this situation generally requires proof of the death of family members.

During an employee’s FMLA leave, the law requires the employer to continue to provide group health benefits.

Laws that have an impact

It is common for small businesses to have close, family relationships with their staff. According to a 2016 SHRM survey of paid leave options, 90% of employers provide bereavement leave.

Under this policy, it is possible to take up to three days of paid leave for immediate family members, one day for extended family members (such as aunts and uncles), and four hours of paid leave for colleagues.

Small businesses may be more willing to grant extended leave because they are more concerned about their employees and families and about the mental and physical consequences that come with a stressful situation like death.

On the other hand, many small businesses can afford more flexible policies, as long as the flexibility does not imply favoritism or prejudice on their part.

This means you.

There is one more point and it is small, but important. Death will happen to everyone and when a close family member or friend passes away, an employee may need support. As an employer, he can help his employees by being sensitive in this situation. Few employers will regret the kindness they show their employees at the time of their bereavement. How you react and treat your employee will always be remembered.

Image credit: Nathan Cowley; pexels; Thanks!

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