What is Included in a Typical Bereavement Policy?

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An organization’s Bereavement Policy states whether and how much time an employee can take off from work in order to attend to or arrange such things as funeral services associated with the death of loved ones.

What Is Bereavement Leave?

When someone you are close to passes away, it’s normal to go through certain stages of grief, depending upon the length, extent, and nature of your relationship. Of course, you would want to take some time off from work or school in order to pay your respects, attend a wake or funeral, or grieve with your family and loved ones for a period of time. You will likely need to take a few days away from your work obligations to take care of matters and connect with relatives who share in your loss. You may even need to fly across the country in order to do so, adding an additional day or two to the time you need to take care of matters.

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An employer’s Bereavement Leave permits you to receive paid leave due to the death of someone who is close to you. This might be a close relative, friend, or business associate. This type of leave is different from other paid work absences, such as maternity leave or medical leave. The amount of paid or unpaid time given for a leave due to the death of someone close to you can vary depending upon your responsibility for arranging the funeral or estate, the distance involved, and the relationship between you and the deceased person.

Your Rights To Bereavement Time Off

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are not required by law to offer payment for time not worked in order to attend a funeral. This type of leave benefit is left up to individual companies, with agreements usually made between the employer and employee or their representative, such as with labor unions.

A Typical Leave Policy for Bereavement

A standard Bereavement Policy, when it is offered, is generally put in place for eligible, full-time, active employees. Upon learning of the death of someone close to you, you should tell your supervisor of the situation as soon as possible.

Normally, a leave of this type will be given to employees unless there are extreme staff shortages or unusually high business needs at the time. You may ask to use any vacation you are owed in lieu of bereavement time, if necessary.

Employees are normally granted a paid bereavement leave of up to three consecutive days with regular pay. This is in the case of the death of close relatives, such as spouses, parents, children, and siblings.

In some cases, employees are given just one day with pay to attend the funeral of a more distant relative, such as a brother- or sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, or spouse’s parent. This time frame can vary depending upon the employer and their stated policy.

Some employers only provide up to four hours of leave for attending the funeral of a business associate or a retiree of your company. In all cases, in order to receive wages for time off, you must attend the funeral of the deceased person.

Although most people do not usually anticipate someone close to them dying, it’s a good idea to review your company’s Bereavement Policy simply to know and understand what the rules are for paid leave if the need should ever arise.

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