The typical personnel policy for family death leave

Employers understand that employees need time off to mourn the death of a family member or close family friend; however, the law does not require this. Because the law doesn’t require it, many employers don’t promote bereavement leave in the same way that extended vacation plans or time off to vote.

Calendar – Calendar

Bereavement leave is an employer’s compassionate response to the grief caused by loss and the need for an employee to take time off from work to meet family obligations, possibly travel — and then deal with personal challenges during this challenging time.

The process and outcome of time off for family death leave

When a close family member dies, the distressed employee should contact her manager, supervisor or Human Resources as soon as possible.

Funeral preparations and funeral and memorial ceremonies require the employee to take time off from the workplace.

In order to complete the possibility of providing death leave to employees, many companies or businesses have started applying for proof of death, such as an obituary or funeral program. When you lose a family member or close friend, a request for evidence sometimes comes across as harsh or rude. Years ago, I had a co-worker who claimed the death of loved ones over and over – then bragged to us that “grandma was alive and well.” So, on closer inspection, it’s not hard to see why an employer might dictate that company policy requires some sort of proof.

In most cases, however, the company does not require written verification or proof of death.

Time and friendship are two crucial factors in life.

The amount of paid leave for an employee is not an entitlement, and it is not the law. The length of time employers allow an employee to start with wages — or even without wages — can vary. Employers often determine time off based on the employee’s relationship with the deceased family member. Sometimes friends are not considered a close relationship with you in order to be able to take time off from work.

Many companies offer three days of paid leave each year, while other companies offer up to five days of paid leave without explanation. These days are separate from your vacation days — and are sometimes referred to as mental health days these days. You can use these days in the event of death.

A sample leisure policy

An example policy might read as follows:

“If a family member dies, the company gives up to five days of paid leave. Immediate family includes a child’s parents, stepparents, stepchildren, and stepsiblings. When an extended family member dies, the company offers three paid days off. There are aunts and uncles and grandparents and grandchildren and in-laws and sisters and brothers-in-law in the extended family.

Employees who lose a parent or other family member are entitled to the same five days of paid leave as their co-workers who lose a close friend or relative. Whether the state recognizes same-sex marriages or whether the company provides equal benefits for domestic partners, the employer pays the same amount of bereavement leave whether or not the domestic partnership is recognized. Traveling out of town to prepare for or attend the funeral of a loved one may give you more time.”

PTO shaft

Employees who have to do lengthy chores related to the death of a family member, such as executor obligations, may request additional time off. Employees who need a 30-day leave of absence due to personal or business responsibilities can request it from their company. Unpaid leave may be a requirement if they do not have enough vacation days.

Suppose an employee meets the requirements for obtaining personal leave and the leave does not exceed 30 days. In that case, the employee may be eligible to return to his previous position or a comparable position with comparable salary, perks and responsibilities.

Leave allowed under the Family and Sick Leave Act

If an employee needs additional time off to cope with grief or health problems due to the death of a family member, they may be eligible for FMLA leave. This provision came into effect when the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) went into effect.

Under the FMLA, the amount of time an employee is allowed to take is 12 weeks. This is unpaid leave and is time that the law protects. An employee can be away for that time without losing their job – but this situation generally requires proof of the death of the family members.

During an employee’s FMLA leave, the law requires the employer to continue to provide collective health benefits.

Laws that have an impact

It is common for small businesses to have close, family relationships with their employees. According to a 2016 SHRM survey on paid leave choices, 90 percent of employers provide bereavement leave.

Under this policy it is possible to take up to three days of paid leave for immediate family members, one day for extended relatives (such as aunts and uncles) and four hours of paid leave for colleagues.

Small businesses may be more willing to grant extended leave because they are more concerned about their employees and families and the mental and physical consequences of a stressful situation such as death.

On the other hand, many small businesses can afford more flexible policies, as long as the flexibility doesn’t involve favoritism or bias in their name.

This means you.

There’s one more point and it’s a small one – but important. Death will happen to anyone and when a close relative or friend dies, an employee may need support. As an employer, you can help your employees by being sensitive in this situation. Few employers will regret the kindness they show their employees at the time of their death. How you respond and treat your employee is always remembered.

Image credit: Nathan Cowley; Pexels; Thank you!

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