good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Bereavement Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

Resources for managers, employers and colleagues

Good workplace support during bereavement has benefits for employees and employers alike. Research shows that supportive workplaces are happier and more productive, with stronger bonds between employees, increased pride in the organisation and lower staff turnover.

Often the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about bereavement support in the workplace is ‘bereavement leave, and time off is very important.

However, people tend to appreciate some level of continued support after they return to work. There are often many practical matters that have to be attended to after a death, and these can take time and attention for weeks or months afterwards. Grief is not confined to a short period, after which someone is "over it". It is an ongoing process that varies from person to person and can be a long-term issue.

Workplaces can help by creating an open and supportive environment for employees to return to, re-balancing workloads, and being flexible.

People respond to bereavement in different ways – while some people may need time off, others may find that work is a refuge and appreciate the familiar routine. Some people may find it helpful to talk about what has happened, where others may prefer to not to talk much. As an employer it is important to sensitively find out a person’s individual needs and preferences.

In this section, managers, employers and colleagues can find out how to contribute to a bereavement friendly workplace, understand what their responsibilities are, and read examples of good practice.

Find out more

Being a supportive colleague: As a colleague, what can you do or say to show support of someone who's been bereaved?

Being a supportive manager: What do managers and HR staff need to know? Is there any training or support that employers can access?

Being a supportive employer: What steps can can an employer take to ensure bereaved staff are supported?

Checklist: An at-a-glance list of steps you should take to ensure your organisation is supportive of bereaved staff.

Legal Requirements: What are the legal requirements for employers in relation to bereavement?

Bereavement Policy: Why is having a bereavement policy important, and what should be in one?

Preparation: How can an organisation become prepared to support bereaved staff?

Support in specific situations: What advice is available for particular types of bereavement?

Changes brought about by the coronovirus pandemic: How has covid-19 changed things?

Training: Where can you get training about bereavement?

Bereavement Charter Mark for Employers: How can you achieve Bereavement Charter Mark accreditation?

Further Resources

This blog provides a helpful overview of some of the things employers can do to support people returning to work following a bereavement.

p12-14 explores some of the ways that employers can support bereaved employees.

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