A bereavement policy balances work with emotional well-being following the loss of a loved one. SHRM notes that 88% of firms uphold this practice. How does your bereavement policy stand? Access our free bereavement policy template today!
Did you know?
When Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, tragically lost her husband in 2015, Mark Zuckerberg told Sandberg to take all the time she needed. By doing this Zuckerberg not only showcased genuine leadership but also triggered a shift in HR perspectives worldwide.
Bereavement leave, often referred to as bereaved leave, is a policy allowing employees time off to mourn the loss of a loved one and attend related ceremonies. The emotional aftermath of such a loss can profoundly influence one's ability to function at work.
Here's what you need to know:
1. Nature of Bereavement Leave:
This leave provides employees with time away from work to attend a funeral or mourn. The duration can vary depending on the company, and often the closeness of the relationship with the deceased plays a role.
2. Immediate Family Considerations:
Typically, immediate family members include spouses, children, stepchildren, and in-laws. While there's an emphasis on granting leave for immediate family, remember that definitions and durations might differ across organizations.
3. Notification & Documentation:
Informing the employer or HR department about the loss is necessary. Some companies might require documentation, such as a prayer card, funeral program, or details about the deceased's family.
4. Know Your Policy:
Bereavement policies differ among companies. Some might offer paid leave, while others might not.
India doesn't have a standardized bereavement leave law.
However, in practice, employees can take up to seven days of paid leave for the loss of immediate family members, including parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, children, and in-laws.
It's crucial for HR leaders to communicate this policy clearly and foster an understanding environment during such sensitive times.
As HR professionals, when designing a bereavement policy, it's essential to find the perfect balance between the company's capacity and the emotional and logistical necessities of the employees.
An effective bereavement leave policy should consider the following:
👉Ensure employees have ample time to manage and attend funeral preparations.
👉Allocate time for visits or wakes, allowing employees to connect with the deceased's family.
👉It's essential to grant employees the time to be present during the funeral and burial.
👉Recognize that employees might need time to sort the deceased's belongings or will.
👉Be considerate of the various tasks one might need to tackle after a loss.
👉Remember, grief doesn't have a timeline. Consider offering additional days off for employees to process their loss healthily.
Remember, every individual's grieving process is unique. As HR leaders, one must ensure that these policies offer compassion and flexibility during these challenging times.
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Here is what your bereavement policy include -
👉Employee Classification: For companies with unionized and contracted workers, it's essential to specify who qualifies for bereavement leave. Differentiate between permanent, contract, and unionized staff to ensure clarity.
👉Duration of Leave: While the company's policy may typically grant days ranging from any day to five for bereavement, certain circumstances may warrant extension. For instances such as the loss of a spouse, child, or if there's a need to travel for the funeral, provisions for extra days should be clearly mentioned.
👉Eligibility Based on Relationship: The bereavement leave eligibility often depends on the relationship of the deceased to the employee. Clearly outline which relationships qualify (e.g., immediate family, extended family, or friends).
👉Leave Request Procedures: Lay out a clear protocol for employees to request bereavement leave. Specify the preferred method of communication, whether it's through an official form, email, or direct reporting to HR, and the necessary information they need to provide.
👉Paid vs. Unpaid Leave: Clearly demarcate the distinction between paid and unpaid leave. Highlight how many days are paid and if there are conditions based on tenure, job role, or other criteria.
Understanding and compassion are at the heart of bereavement policies. Ensuring clarity in these guidelines helps employees navigate challenging times with minimal added stress.
Understanding the challenging dynamics of grief, here's why offering bereavement leave is not just an act of empathy but also a strategic choice:
✅50% increase in employee retention:
The SHRM notes that employees are more likely to remain loyal to employers who demonstrate understanding and compassion. In fact, companies with strong leave policies reported up to 50% higher retention rates than those without.
📈Elevate the company reputation:
A Glassdoor report showed that 57% of job seekers consider benefits before accepting a job offer. Companies with comprehensive bereavement policies tend to stand out as empathetic employers, attracting top talent who prioritize work-life balance.
A Harvard Business Review (HBR) report indicates that employees experiencing grief can see a 20% drop in productivity. By providing time to mourn, you allow them to return to work with better focus and mental clarity.
🤩15% increase in employee engagement:
As per Gallup's State of the American Workplace report, companies that show empathy have a 15% increase in employee engagement. Bereavement leave is a tangible reflection of an organization's empathy, positively influencing morale.
This is a general guide, not a legal document, and may not cover all laws under the Indian Labour law. Neither the writer nor Pazcare will be liable for any legal consequences arising from its use. Consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance and adapt this guide to your business needs.
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