Bereavement Leave Sample Policy

Recommended Employee Options During Bereavement

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A bereavement policy is the company’s practice about allowing paid and unpaid employee time off when a family member, relative, or friend dies. While an organization will want to make every effort to work with employees on an individual basis during these tough emotional times, you will want to have a basic policy in place so that employees know what to expect

As an employer dedicated to treating employees fairly, consistently, and caringly, you will want to have your starting place documented in your employee handbook.

Bereavement time is granted for making funeral arrangements, attending the funeral and burial, paying respects to the family at a wake or visitation, dealing with the deceased’s possessions and will, and any ancillary matters that employees must address when a loved one dies.

Companies provide paid bereavement time of approximately three days for the death of an immediate family member. Companies provide paid bereavement time of one day for other relatives and friends.

Most organizations are willing to provide employees with additional unpaid days, when necessary, so that the employee can deal with the affairs of the deceased family member. When an employee is the responsible party for the conducting of the deceased's business, the employee may need several weeks of unpaid time to wrap up his loved one's affairs. This becomes even more complex if the relative lived in a distant state or country.

I recommend that employers work with employees on a case by case basis about offering unpaid time off or the utilization of vacation timePTO, or personal days for bereavement events. The employee will appreciate how you treat him or her in the future.

Following is a sample bereavement policy that contains provisions regularly found in company bereavement policies.

Bereavement Policy Sample

Funeral Leave for an Immediate Family Member:

When a death occurs in an employee's immediate family, all regular full time employees may take up to three (3) days off with pay to attend the funeral or make funeral arrangements. The pay for time off will be prorated for a part-time employee if the funeral occurs on a scheduled work day. The Company may, in unusual circumstances, require verification of the need for the leave.

Immediate Family Defined for Bereavement Leave:

Immediate family members are defined as an employee's spouse, parents, stepparents, siblings, children, stepchildren, grandparent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or grandchild.

Non-family Member Funeral Leave:

All regular, full-time employees may take up to one (1) day off with pay to attend the funeral of a close, non-family member. This time off will be considered by the employee's manager on a case-by-case basis.

The pay for time off will be prorated for a part-time employee if the funeral occurs on a scheduled work day.

The supervisor should confirm that the time is recorded accurately on the time cards. The Company may require verification of the need for the leave.

Additional Time Off:

The Company understands the deep impact that death can have on an individual or a family, therefore additional non-paid time off may be granted. The employee may make arrangements with his or her supervisor for an additional four unpaid days off in the instance of the death of an immediate family member.

Additional unpaid time off may be granted depending on circumstances such as distance, the individual's responsibility for funeral arrangements, and the employee's responsibility for taking care of the estate of the deceased.

More Sample Policies.

Disclaimer: Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice both on this website, and linked to from this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality, and is not to be construed as legal advice.

The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the site cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. The information on this site is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.

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