Bereavement in the workplace

Bereavement counselling and care

Grief is a normal response to loss. It can be painful, time consuming and exhausting and people react to it in different ways.  Shock, anger, disbelief, guilt, regret, numbness and loneliness are some emotions that most people feel. Grief impacts on the emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological wellbeing of the person who is bereaved and when these people are at work, it is inevitable that their grief will impact on their performance.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to take away the pain. Grief is something that has to be worked through.   There is no set time to say when someone will feel better, and this means that bereavement in the workplace can be challenging to manage. Employees may:

  • Employees may need to take time off unexpectedly
  • Find their performance is impacted
  • Be temporarily unable to perform certain roles

A compassionate and supportive approach demonstrates that you value your staff, helps build commitment, reduces sickness absence and retains the workforce.

What the law says about bereavement in the workplace?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 gives a “day one” right for an employee to have ‘reasonable’ time off work to deal with an emergency, such as a bereavement involving a dependent. This could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on the employee for care.

An employee may be entitled to special or compassionate leave under their contract of employment.  The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) research suggests that, in general, most employees are given five days paid leave to deal with emergencies.

There is clear research to show that there is a link between bereavement and mental health.

An employer has a duty of care to employees generally and should consider the effect bereavement might have on the employee in undertaking their duties.

Furthermore, employees experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be as a consequence of bereavement, may be considered disabled in some cases and then the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for these employees to remove workplace barriers.

What does Rosedale offer to help us with this?

Rosedale Training offers a three-hour training course aimed at line managers, HR teams and other selected staff. Find out more about Bereavement in the Workplace training.

In the event that an employee has died, we can sometimes – if you are an employer within a 10-mile radius of a branch of Rosedale Funeral Home – offer advice over the telephone about how to deal with the immediate impact of this, from the time of death, throughout the arrangements for the funeral and over key dates that will fall over the coming months.