Spotlight on: Bereavement Leave

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Employees are not given a statutory right to bereavement or compassionate leave. However they are permitted to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to enable them to deal with an emergency involving a dependant which could include a partner, parent, grandparent, child or even a neighbour for example if that person has relied on the employee for care.

If an employee suffered a close family bereavement, they would be entitled to take time off under this provision to make funeral arrangements and to register the death.

However, many employers offer a specified amount of paid compassionate leave to cover this kind of eventuality. Acas have stated that the average amount of time given is five days’ paid leave but as there is no statutory requirement to provide this, the amount of time given will be down to the Company.

Always consider individual circumstances and be accommodating if an employee requests additional time off in the form of holiday or special leave, particularly if the funeral is abroad.

Make sure your Managers are fully aware of the provisions you have made for employees in this situation so that they can properly support their staff when a request for time off is made.

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