New advice on how to handle bereavement at work

Acas has issued new guidance for employers on how to handle bereavement at work.

Stressed women at laptop

 

Acas has published new advice to help employers handle staff bereavement at work and understand an employee’s legal right to time off.

Acas advise that it is important for employers to be sensitive to what each person might need at the time; consider the person’s physical and emotional wellbeing, including once they’ve returned to work; and recognise that grief affects everyone differently, there is no right or wrong way to grieve and it can affect people at different times following a death.

Employees have the legal right to unpaid time off for dependants following the death of a parent, partner or someone they live with or care for. A parent of a child under the age of 18 who dies may be entitled to parental bereavement leave which gives a right of up to two weeks’ time off. If a working parent meets certain eligibility criteria then they could also be entitled to parental bereavement pay.

Acas’s full advice covers:

  • Leave and pay when someone dies;
  • If an employee’s child dies;
  • If an employee or their partner has a stillbirth or miscarriage;
  • Parental bereavement leave and pay;
  • What to do after a death as an employee;
  • Supporting an employee after a death;
  • If someone at work dies; and
  • The benefits of a bereavement policy.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: “The death of a loved one is a devastating and life changing experience for any employee. It can impact someone at work immediately as well as long-term.

“We also cannot ignore the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on staff who have been unable to grieve in the usual way. Some people could not be with loved ones when they died or were not able to give them a proper send-off.

“Our new bereavement advice can help employers handle these difficult situations in a supportive, compassionate and practical way as well as understanding the law in this area.”



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