New guidance on how to support bereaved employees is published in the wake of the new parental bereavement legislation, which comes into force in April.
A new guide on how to help employees with bereavement has been published in the wake of the Government’s announcement of a new leave entitlement for parents whose suffer the loss of a child or stillbirth.
The new law on parental bereavement leave is known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy has been campaigning on the issue since her 23-month-old son Jack drowned in a pond in 2010 and she discovered his father could take only three days’ paid leave. The Government estimates the two weeks’ leave will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.
It highlights the fact that there is currently little legal provision in relation to bereavement. It is limited to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off under the time off for dependants legislation – and this is specifically to take any ‘necessary action’ when a dependant dies.
Research by XpertHR found that for the closest relationships – including children, partners, parents and siblings – the median entitlement is five days. It says this means the majority of employers will need to amend their policies regarding paid time off in light of the new law. It adds that the new entitlement is an opportunity for employers to look at the general support they provide for bereaved employees.
Its new How to support a bereaved employee guidance highlights the steps employers can take to support grieving employees in both the short and the long term. The guide covers symptoms of grief, immediate communication with bereaved employees, time off, ongoing support and bereaved employees’ return to work.
It also explains the external support services that employers may consider providing, often through an employee assistance programme or group insurance and provides examples of charities that offer help for bereaved people, their friends, colleagues and employers.
Some areas it coves include the importance of: