Bereavement leave: should employers be doing more?

By Antonia Blackwell

Recently the Dying Matters Coalition has called for a national review of employment practice on bereavement leave. We ask whether employers have responsibility for supporting bereaved employees and how far that responsibility should stretch.

Currently there is no statutory right for employees to receive paid time off work where they suffer bereavement. However, under the provisions for time off work to deal with emergencies involving dependants, where an employee’s dependant dies (being the employee’s partner, child, parent, a family member who lives with the employee or, in the case of ill health, someone who relies on the employee), the employee is entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work in order to take action which is necessary as a result of that death, such as to make funeral arrangements…

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