Unfortunately, many of us have lost a loved one and we all grieve in different ways to each other, but should we work while we are grieving?
There is no specific time that a person needs off work if they are grieving, it takes some people longer than others. However, too many people feel pressured to return to work when they don’t feel like they are ready.
At the moment, there is no statutory right for people to have paid leave after bereavement. Most employees have the statutory right to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off under the Employment Rights Act to allow them to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies involving a dependant. Most companies will have a policy on this, if you’re unsure you can find out by looking in your staff handbook or by talking to your HR team.
Bereavement leave would cost employers, which could be damaging especially to small businesses. The leave will work just like sick leave so it doesn’t mean people will use all of it, they will just have an allowance if it is needed. Some employees will want to get back to work quickly after a bereavement so they can avoid feeling isolated at home and continue their normal way of life, whilst others will not feel able to go back to work for some time as they could feel overwhelmed and too emotional to be surrounded by others.
This is a very sensitive area and very complex so it will most certainly be difficult for the government to legislate appropriately as everyone has their own individual circumstances. If there are any developments regarding Bereavement Leave we will keep you updated.