good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Bereavement Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

Bereavement policies

A bereavement policy sets out what an organisation will do if an employee is bereaved. Bereavement policies are helpful for several reasons:

  • Having an established policy helps to ensure that people across the organisation receive the same high standard of support – treatment is less likely to be dependent on what part of the organisation someone works in or who their line manager is.
  • Writing a policy is an opportunity for an organisation to consider the various aspects of bereavement support – it doesn’t all have to be about bereavement leave, but can also cover aspects such as flexibility, information provision, and access to counselling.
  • A policy gives guidance and support to managers who may be unsure of the appropriate way to respond when someone has been bereaved.
  • A policy helps all employees to know what their rights are.

What should be in a bereavement policy?

Bereavement policies should be tailored to the needs of your organisation.

However, there are some features which are common to most bereavement policies, such as indicative timescales for time off and the procedures for reporting bereavement.

It is important that your policy is clear, readily available and easy to access. By definition, it is only accessed at times of personal trauma. Clear, plain and flexible policies are a great help in those circumstances.

ACAS has produced a helpful template to guide development of organisational bereavement policies: Sample Bereavement Policy (ACAS)

Further resources

The Irish Hospice Foundation has explored issues to be considered when developing a bereavement policy:

The following resources explore approaches to time off for bereavement:

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