What is Bereavement Leave? - What to Know

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Losing a loved one is always a stressful time of life. No matter whether your loss was sudden, or it was something that had been expected due to a lengthy illness, you will need time to come to terms with everything that’s happened as well as process your grief. This is where bereavement leave can come in handy, as this is leave that you are legally entitled to take if you lose a close relative.

However, if you’ve never heard of it before, you may be wondering, what is bereavement leave?

Today, we’re going to cover everything that you need to know about bereavement leave. We’re going to cover what it is, who is entitled to bereavement leave, whether it is paid, what exactly bereavement leave can be used for, and how long your employer will legally have to give time off work for.

Let’s take a look at everything that you need to know about bereavement leave.

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What is Bereavement Leave?

As the name implies, bereavement leave is the leave that you are allowed to take off work when an immediate family member passes away. This is typically considered to be a parent, spouse, sibling, grandparent, or child.

Unfortunately, your employer isn’t legally required to give you bereavement leave, or even pay you for this. However, the vast majority of employers will offer this as standard for several reasons. One of these is of course the fact that it is very hard to concentrate on your job when you have just lost someone close to you.

Some employers do pay you for bereavement leave, and this amount will differ depending on the employer in question and how long you will be off work for. Some employers will even give you the option of taking additional leave off unpaid if you wish to.

For those employers that do offer bereavement leave, the amount of time you are entitled to will differ from company to company. It will be best to contact your employer or their HR department so that they can best advise you on the steps to take for bereavement leave, as well as any fine details such as how long you will need off work and how much you can be paid for this time.

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Who Is Entitled to Bereavement Leave?

Depending on the policies that your employer has in place, you will be entitled to bereavement leave if the person close to you was a parent, spouse, grandparent, sibling, or child. These are considered to be close family members, so it will be perfectly understandable if you need time off from your place of work to cope with your grief.

If you’re not sure if your loss qualifies for bereavement leave or what the rules are for your company, then you will need to contact your HR department to find out what they would advise you to do. There may also be the option of taking a couple of days unpaid leave if your employer doesn’t offer bereavement leave.

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Is Bereavement Leave Paid?

When a loved one dies, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether you will be able to pay the bills. Unfortunately, employers don’t legally have to offer bereavement leave. So this also means that they aren’t legally required to pay you for this bereavement leave if they do offer it.

However, it will be best to speak to your employer or relevant HR representative so that you can find out more about their particular bereavement leave, whether they offer this, and how much you can get paid before you feel able to come back to work.

The vast majority of employers will offer you between 3 to 10 days paid leave. It will be best to clarify this with your HR department so that you don’t get a nasty shock the next time your pay cheque comes through. There may also be the option to take some additional unpaid leave if you feel that you need this.

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What Can Bereavement Leave Be Used For?

Bereavement leave can be used when an immediate family member dies. This typically includes a parent, spouse, child, grandparent, or sibling. It will be best to contact your HR department to see whether your company offers bereavement leave for your particular loss.

If you have lost a close friend or other family member, your employer may not be able to offer you specific bereavement leave for these circumstances. It will be best to contact your HR department so that they can clarify this for you.

 

How Long Should an Employer Give for Bereavement?

The amount of time that an employer is able to offer for bereavement leave will differ from company to company. Because there is no legal requirement for a company to offer bereavement leave to their employees - with the exception of the state of Oregan - payment may vary depending on your particular workplace.

You should contact your HR department to find out whether the bereavement leave that your company offers is paid leave or not.

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In Summary

So there you have it! You now know that bereavement leave is the type of leave that is available if a close family member has died. This usually covers parents, siblings, spouses, grandparents, and children. It’s also important to note that not every employer is able to offer bereavement leave, as they are not required to do so by law.

This means you will need to contact your employer or HR representative so that you can find out whether bereavement leave is something that your company offers, and how long this is for. The typical period of bereavement leave tends to be between 3 to 10 days but this can also differ from company to company.

You will also need to clarify with your HR representative whether this will be paid leave or not. The vast majority of employers will give you paid bereavement leave if this is something that they offer, but it will be worth clarifying with your HR department so that it doesn’t make an already upsetting time even more stressful.

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What is Bereavement Leave? - What to Know
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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