Establishing A Human Resource Policy For Family Death Leave

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Most employers understand that employees will need to take time off to mourn the death of family or close family friend. However, no employer is mandated by law to provide bereavement leave. 

Bereavement leave is an employer’s compassionate response to the sadness caused by loss and the necessity for an employee to take time off work. Under bereavement leave, the employee can attend to family obligations, possible travel, and then cope with personal challenges during this tumultuous period.

Process Of Bereavement Leave

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

It is understood that funeral preparations and funeral and memorial ceremonies will require the employee to take time off away from the workplace.

While most companies do not require you to provide proof of death, some companies or businesses have begun to request proof of death, such as an obituary or a funeral program. 

This may seem harsh and rude, especially when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, but employers do so to prevent misuse of the bereavement leave policy, 

Number And Duration Of Leave

As stated above, the amount of paid leave for an employee is not mandated by law. The duration and time employers allow an employee to take can be paid or unpaid depending on the circumstances. Employers often determine time off on the basis of the employee’s connection with the dead family member. Sometimes friends are not considered a close enough relation for you to be able to take time off work.

Many companies provide 3 days of paid time off every year, with other companies offering up to 5 days of paid time off with no explanation or proof of death. These days are counted separately from your vacation days. They can also be used in today’s context also as mental health days to cope with the loss of a dear one. 

Paid And Unpaid Leave 

Employees who must oversee the funeral and other ceremonies with a family member’s death may seek additional time off. Employees who need a 30-day leave of absence owing to personal or business responsibilities may request it from their company. This may translate into unpaid leave if they do not have enough vacation days.

If an employee needs additional time off to cope with grief or health concerns due to a family member’s death, they may be eligible for FMLA leave. This provision was made with the effect of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Under the FMLA, the employee may take up to 12 weeks off during the death of a family member. This is unpaid leave but it guarantees that the employee’s job will be secure during their absence from work. During an employee’s FMLA leave, the law requires the employer to continue providing group health benefits.

Going The Extra Mile For Employees

The death of a loved one can have catastrophic effects on an employee’s personal and mental well-being. Although the law doesn’t demand that you provide your employees with bereavement leave, it is an act of compassion that can further strengthen the bond between an employee and employer. 

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