Bereavement Leave: What You Should Know
When a loved one passes away unexpectedly, the blow can be difficult to deal with. It’s easy to be distracted from your daily responsibilities, including your tasks at work. In some situations, taking some time off from work may be wise, especially when you’ve lost a close family member.
But how many days are you allowed to take off, and what do you have to do to qualify for such a leave? To learn more about bereavement leaves from work, take a look at the information below. We’ll let you know what you can expect and what you can do to get the time you need to grieve. We’ll also discuss how different circumstances affect the length of your bereavement leave.
How Much Time Off Am I Allowed?
Unfortunately, legally speaking, employers don’t have to provide bereavement leave at all. There isn’t a law that requires time off for grieving employees, but most employers still provide a bereavement leave as a courtesy to their staff. Often, these leaves are unpaid, but some companies offer paid leave to further help you through a difficult time. Generally, bereavement leaves are about three to five days, but some companies may only permit a couple of days for grieving.
Most employers understand the difficulty of a family death and comprehend the emotional burden and physical responsibilities of such a passing. Bereavement leave allows you time to grieve properly, and it also gives you the opportunity to help with the funeral or related business.
But because it isn’t required, bereavement leaves from company to company can vary, so you should take a look at your employee handbook to confirm you’re permitted a bereavement leave and see how many days you’re allowed.
What If I Need More Time?
If you feel the permitted bereavement leave is too short for your level of grief, you don’t have to grin and bear it. Take some time to speak to your manager or the human resources department about your situation, and ask if it would be possible to take a few more days off.
Should the company offer a paid bereavement leave, you may be expected to take unpaid time off for any additional days. Or, if you have some paid time off saved up, you can use that instead.
However, keep in mind that your time off is ultimately up to your employer. If they reject your request, you must comply as a company employee, even if you disagree with their decision. Some companies may find it difficult to grant a lot of time off, especially if they’re small or fairly new. If one employee is gone for several days, it could seriously affect the company’s operation.
What Factors Contribute to Your Individual Case?
When you feel like you need additional time off, your employer might consider a number of different factors. For instance, entry-level employees may not be permitted as many days off as someone else in a management position.
They may also consider how long you’ve been with the company and your relationship to the deceased. If a parent or child passed away, you may be given more time to mourn as opposed to a grandparent.
If you plan on attending a distant funeral, your employer may give you additional time to allow for both travel and attendance. For instance, if you’re flying from the West Coast to the East Coast for a memorial service, you may be given five days instead of three so you can properly attend the funeral.
What Do I Need to Qualify for Bereavement Leave?
While the death of a friend or cousin can hit hard, bereavement leave is often only granted for the death of a closely related family member. For instance, you may be given time off for the passing of your:
Some employers may also ask for some proof of passing, such as a death certificate or a program from the funeral.
If a close family member has passed away, check your company’s policy on family deaths. Look at your employee handbook or ask HR, and ensure you know all the details. Don’t be afraid to discuss your situation further with your manager or HR, and take your time to grieve and recover.
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