What is Bereavement Leave?

Bereavement Leave is a paid leave policy offered by the employer when an employee loses a family member, relative, spouse, child, sibling, or any other relationship.

Although paid bereavement leave is not required by law in the US, employers typically give employees three days off for each loss.

Any organization’s employee handbook should contain explicit and easily accessible bereavement leave policies.

Is Bereavement Leave Paid?

Depending on the company’s policies and the relevant laws in the employee’s jurisdiction, bereavement leave may be paid or unpaid.

Following are some general ideas regarding bereavement leave:

  • While some employers include paid bereavement leave as a benefit, others only offer unpaid leave or mandate that workers use their accrued vacation and sick time.
  • Generally, unlike other types of time off like PTO/sick days, most employers do not roll over bereavement leave from one year to the next.

Who is Considered Immediate Family for Bereavement Leave?

For bereavement leave, immediate family members are usually included:

  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren

Other family members, such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws, may also be considered immediate family by employers when determining eligibility for bereavement leave.

 It’s crucial to confirm the exact definition of immediate family used by your employer or HR before applying for bereavement leave.

How Long is Bereavement Leave?

The most common duration is 3 to 5 days. 

It’s crucial to consider the various cultural and religious practices that employees of various faiths may have, though.

Example: The family of the deceased mourns for seven days in Judaism. 

It might be a good idea to use the formal policy merely as a guideline and leave it up to the line manager to decide, on an individual basis, how many days would be appropriate.

What Family Members Qualify for Bereavement Leave?

Parents, in-laws, children, siblings, a spouse, domestic partner, a guardian, or a grandparent make up the immediate family most commonly.

When an employee loses an aunt, uncle, cousin, or close friend, some employers even allow them to take a day off.

Consider giving your employee time off if they lose their pet as well.

Also, See: Sick Leave Pay

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