good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Bereavement Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

Support for specific bereavements

Every bereavement is different. It is important for employers to recognise that not every employee will be affected the same way by grief. Different circumstances and employees will require different levels and types of support.

Sometimes, however, certain circumstances call for specific types of help and support. This section aims to address some of these specific types of bereavement where targeted support may be useful.

The death of an employee

The death of a staff member affects everyone in the organisation, especially in small and close-knit teams. Aside from the emotional and psychological effects, it inevitably disrupts normal workplace routines. Continuation of business operations may be of concern to the employer, but they should be mindful of the impact that a loss can have on their staff. Teams that are given appropriate time and space to deal with a death will be healthier in the long term. Deaths while at work bring their own issues, not least legal ones for the employer. The following guidance should help with these situations:

When a staff member dies [weblink] (CRUSE)
Reporting a workplace death [weblink] (UK Gov)

When an employee's child has died

New UK legislation comes into force in April 2020 which entitles parents or primary carers two weeks leave after the death of a child under 18 or a stillbirth. When a bereaved parent returns to work, they will need support from their employer and colleagues. A number of UK charities specialise in this area and have some guidance on how to help.

Returning to work when a baby or child has died: guidance for employers [pdf] (Child Bereavement UK, July 2018)
Helping a bereaved parent return to work [pdf] (SANDS, 2016)

Support for LGBT+ colleagues

There are some particular considerations to be aware of when supporting LGBT+ people around bereavement or when an LGBT+ colleague has died. It may not be evident or known that a person is LGBT+, for instance. The NHS Scotland's Support Around Death site offers guidance in this area:

Supporting LGBT+ people around bereavement [weblink] (NHS)

(Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash)

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