Following the pandemic, it has been predicted that support for employees suffering from grief will increase.
Due to the impact Covid-19 has had on families across the UK, RedArc is warning employers that they may start to witness an increase in the need for bereavement support services.
Analysis of data by the firm found that in Q1 2021, referrals for bereavement were second only to mental health conditions, and ahead of orthopaedic issues and cancer. RedArc expects this to spike during the remainder of the year.
The nurse-led wellbeing service is predicting a 40% year-on-year increase in referrals to its bereavement support, which will mark its largest number of bereaved individuals that it expects to help in one year in its 23-year history.
In addition, it shared that many employees who lost loved ones during the crisis are yet to come forward for support.
“Employers are likely to be seeing the after-effects of the pandemic on their employees before we do, so many will already understand the impact that losing a loved in such an untimely manner is having on staff,” said Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic not only took away loved ones but also removed our ability to properly grieve: not being at a loved one’s bedside, reduced numbers at funerals, social distancing, a hug ‘ban’, and being unable to see family and friends, means more people than ever are struggling with their emotions in bereavement.”
According to Acas, when an employee’s dependent dies, such as their parent, partner or child, there is no legal right for time off for dependants to be paid, but some employers might offer pay.
However, there are other types of support an employer can offer. These include signposting employees towards bereavement charities and self-help groups, and practical help such as helping the employee to juggle work with childcare responsibilities, by offering flexible working for example.
In addition, introducing coping strategies for dealing with milestones such as anniversaries and Christmas can be incredibly beneficial to an employee dealing with bereavement.
Husbands added: “There is no timetable for the grieving process – everyone will have a different experience. That’s why employers need to ensure they have support in place that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of staff because no one can predict how long it will take to adjust to living without a family member or loved one particularly when lost in difficult circumstances.”