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Bereavement in the workplace

The death of a loved one is an awful thing to experience, and it can become more stressful if you are worried about taking time off work.

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This a big problem in the UK, as a recent study found that the majority of British people feel under pressure to go into work even when they are ill or grieving. However, all UK workers are entitled to time off if they have recently experienced bereavement.

 

Most companies have a policy surrounding this. For example, Facebook recently announced that they will give employees up to 20 days off, but other companies only offer two or three days. Employees should speak to their HR team to find out more about their company’s policy, but this short guide will help equip you with everything you need to know.

 

How much time can you take off work?

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person can experience, but employees can legally ask for time off work afterwards to help them cope. The Employment Rights Act 1996 ensures that all UK workers are legally entitled to time off after losing a dependent.

 

This means employees can take time off work if they lose a partner or family member, but they may not be allowed leave for people who aren’t dependents. It is also worth noting that this leave is normally unpaid, although that is the employer’s decision.

 

There isn’t a set length of time that workers are allowed off work, but the Gov.uk website says that one or two days should normally be enough. Ultimately it is up to the employer. Many employers are more than happy to consider the employees thoughts regarding time off, so they should be able to reach a decision are both comfortable with.

 

No one likes the idea of having an awkward conversation with their boss, but it is essential that they explain why they need some space. If an employer refuses to grant leave, a grievance can be raised to try and resolve the issue, and if the employer still won’t budge - the Citizen’s Advice Bureau should be contacted. Legally employees are entitled to time off, so they don’t have to accept going straight back to work if they don’t want to.

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