The Employee + Employer's Guide to Bereavement Leave

The Employee + Employer's Guide to Bereavement Leave

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How to Take Bereavement Leave

Here's a sample template you could use to request bereavement leave in the event of an immediate family member's passing. Dear [NAME],  I am writing to inform you that my [LOVED ONE] has passed away.  I would like to formally request three days of paid leave to travel to [CITY], arrange funeral plans, and take time with my family. 

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How to Take Bereavement Leave

Beyond that, I would like to use any unused paid vacation time I have accrued to spend this time with my family. I am deeply committed to the work I do at [COMPANY] and I trust that you understand. I will be available via email during this time. For any urgent matters, I have notified [SUPERVISOR] of my absence and she is happy to help out in 

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How to Take Bereavement Leave

my absence.   Thank you in advance for your understanding.    Best, [NAME]

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How to Prepare for Bereavement Leave

Create a plan for remote work for a time period—whether it's a week or a month. In addition, it's painful, but it's best to make a week-long contingency plan when you need to take actual time off for funeral plans and, honestly, to take a break from everything. Here is a sample email you could writе:

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How to Prepare for Bereavement Leave

Dear [NAME], I am writing to inform you of the worsening state of my [LOVED ONE'S] health. I would like to formally request three days of paid leave to visit and spend time with [LOVED ONE]. Beyond that, I would love to speak with you about an arrangement for me to work remotely from [CITY] during 

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How to Prepare for Bereavement Leave

this time. I am deeply committed to the work I do at [COMPANY] and I trust that you understand this time is precious to my family and myself.   I will be available via email during this time.  Thank you in advance for your understanding.   Best, [NAME]

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

Act With Compassion Above All Else Death will touch us all. As an employer, it is crucial to keep this in mind.In cases like these, it is best for an employer to act on the laws of compassion, which are unlikely to be found in any employee handbook. In the case of death, your employee is not likely trying to scam you for more days off. 

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

She's probably not going to the beach, day-tripping to Sonoma, or playing hooky. Instead, she is likely using this time to memorialize her lost family member and to plan a costly funeral.

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

Offer Open-Ended Time Off Allow your employee to take the time she needs. Often, employees will appreciate this gesture so much that they will, in kind, be responsible with the time they need. In fact, when I was in the middle of my own father's illness and death, I was looking forward to getting back to work—I was appreciative for the 

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

understanding from my boss and I wanted to repay the kindness by returning as soon as I wasn't a teary mess.

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

Offer Remote and Flexible Options If your employee is ready to come back—maybe even a little too soon—offer her flexible work options. In the earlier stages of grief, some employees may use work as a coping mechanism or as a distraction.  Make sure that your employee feels comfortable taking the 

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

time she needs to grieve. By offering remote options or flexible options, your employee can ease back into work at her own pace—and feel comfortable doing so.

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

Offer a Few Kind Words Death is something that will touch us all in our lifetime. Whether or not you have experienced a loss yourself, make sure your employee feels empowered to share feelings.  While you don't have to be a full-time therapist along with all of your other responsibilities, a thoughtful email or a small gesture of kindness will go a 

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Employers: How to Grant Bereavement Leave

long way. If you are close with your employee, you might even consider attending a memorial service, dropping a lasagna at her house, or another small kindness.  Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to move mountains in order to show compassion. Small gestures will go a long way.

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