Bereavement and Leave Policy FAQs

Posted on: October 1st, 2012 by Hope And Cope No Comments

Possible Bereavement Leave Policies
Losing a loved one is something that will happen to most people. It is likely that it will happen during your employed years. Most people are so busy earning a living, that when it happens to them they realize that they don’t know their employers policies and their own rights.
It is important that when you are caught by surprise, you have the information at your fingertips so that you can act fast to make funeral arrangements, etc., for your loved ones. It is best to become familiar with all your employee rights. Most employers have an employee handbook which covers this, as well as other, important information.
The below frequently asked questions (FAQs) are general and may, or may not apply to you, but provides a starting point for conversation with your Human Resources Department and/or immediate supervisor.

Q. What is the law regarding bereavement rights?
A. There are no states or federal laws. Your rights depend on the policies of your employer.
Q. My mother just died. What are my rights as an employee?
A. The best place to start is to visit or call your employer’s Human Resources Officer. This person can tell you the standard policy for all employees and/or provide you with documentation. There is usually a different policy for full time and part time employees. Time off usually is different for immediate family than for other family members. The employee is usually required to call or email their immediate supervisor.
Q. What are immediate family members?
A. Immediate family members are defined as an employee’s spouse, parents, stepparents, siblings, children, stepchildren, grandparent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or grandchild. Some employers also include aunts and uncles. Many progressive employers will include live-in domestic partners.
Q. How much time may I have off for immediate family members?
A. In most situations when a death occurs in an employee’s immediate family, all regular full time employees may take up to three (3) days off with pay to attend the funeral or make funeral arrangements.
Q. What about other family members or friends?
A. In most situations, regular, full-time employees may take up to one (1) day off with pay to attend the funeral of a close but non-immediate family member. Employers usually reserve the right to consider this on a case by case employee basis.
Q. What if the family member lives out of town?
A. Most employers’ policy includes five days with pay for immediate family members.
Q. What if I lose a child or spouse. Will I really get just 3-5 days off to grieve?
A. There are some employers that will make exceptions, depending upon a variety of circumstances. Some companies also allow you to take extended family leave in certain cases.
This sample policy is provided for guidance only. The provided information – policies, procedures, samples, examples, and guidelines – while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. While we make every effort to provide and link accurate, legal, and complete information, it is not guaranteed to be correct. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct.


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