good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Bereavement Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

Employee rights after a bereavement

What should I expect from my employer?

Employers have certain legal responsibilities towards employees who have been bereaved. For instance, under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees have a "day one" right to "reasonable" time off work to deal with emergencies involving a dependant. This would include a bereavement.

A compassionate employer goes beyond this legal minimum. A period of leave can be essential, but other factors are often more important in terms of returning to work and making a long-term adjustment to loss. Support from colleagues, re-balancing of workloads and flexible working practices can make a big difference. No-one can take grief away, but a supportive environment at work can go a long way to avoid making it worse.

The links below offer advice about taking time off for a bereavement. Employees might also like to make their employers aware of best practices when it comes to bereavement.

Compassionate leave: taking time off for a bereavement [website] (ACAS)
Time off for family and dependants [website] (UK Government)

What am I entitled to after a bereavement?

Money worries can be an additional problem after a bereavement, and this can be exacerbated if you are in unstable employment or need to take unpaid leave. Some financial support may be available after a death, depending on your circumstances. The following links will help you find out more and discover if you are eligible.

Bereavement benefits (Age UK)
UK Government bereavement page [website]
UK Government Help with funeral costs [website]

(Photo by Sydney Rae on Unsplash)

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