Rethinking Bereavement Pay And Time Off

While there is no federal law mandating paid or unpaid bereavement pay, many organizations consider this a part of an employee’s benefits package. They know employees are better when they have time to grieve and care for themselves after losing a loved one.

I lost my father at the end of October. It came as a heavy blow to my heart, mind, and soul. My father was the patriarch of my family and held so many things together. Without him, life has been difficult.

This experience has made me rethink the bereavement process. I think every leader of an organization needs to rethink their bereavement process.

Rethinking Bereavement Pay And Time Off

First, I am so thankful that the team at Bold Furniture allowed me the time to be with my family during and after the loss of my father. It meant so much to me. It meant so much to my family.

The time off was spent with my family. However, I discovered the time after my father’s death wasn’t spent grieving. It was spent doing other things.

What did the bereavement time off look like for me? Bereavement included:

  • Looking at funeral options
  • Comforting family members
  • Taking care of my parent’s house
  • Attending the funeral
  • And so much more…

One of the things you may notice that wasn’t on the list was grieving or trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of my father. That’s because everything was so busy I didn’t have the time to grieve the loss of my father.

I still don’t think I have and it has been months.

Once the bereavement time off ran out, I did take an extra day off. It was needed. It still didn’t include time to grieve.

This is the major flaw in bereavement pay and time off. The time is short.

Bereavement time off is typically 2-3 days.

I believe this is not enough time for an employee to recover from losing a loved one. They need more time than they are given.

We need to rethink the bereavement time-off process. We need to think of ways to serve those who are grieving.

Bereavement time off could look like this:

  • 2-3 paid days off after the death
  • An additional 2-3 days off 2-3 weeks after the death
  • A paid consultation with a grieving counselor
  • Providing grieving resources
  • A check-in from the human resource department
  • An understanding that people hurt long after the death

This isn’t a comprehensive list. However, this is the start of a conversation. It is something to get you thinking about your bereavement process and what you can do to help your team recover from a devastating personal loss.

I hope you’ll consider revisiting your policies.

Not only will giving your team members more support help your team member come back ready to work, but it will also help them work harder and appreciate the organization more.

What can you do to help your team member through their bereavement process?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.