CIPD calls for bereavement leave and pay for all employees experiencing close family loss

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The CIPD is calling for the right to bereavement leave and pay to be extended to all employees experiencing the loss of a close family member.

This follows the introduction of Jack’s Law in April this year which gave the legal right of paid bereavement leave to working parents who lose a child under 18 years’ old.

In an open letter to business secretary Alok Sharma, the CIPD asked that an employee experiencing the loss of a partner or close family member, whether by blood, adoption or through marriage, would have the right to two weeks’ leave or paid leave from work.

Employees have the right to reasonable time off work to deal with emergencies, yet the law does not state how much time can be taken and there is no legal requirement for employers to pay employees who take leave during this time.

Just over half of employees said they were aware of their employer having a policy or support in place for employees experiencing bereavement, according to the CIPD’s Employee Outlook survey.

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said the measures are even more poignant following the coronavirus pandemic this year.

She said: “Losing a family member, partner or friend can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing and employees experiencing bereavement need to be treated with compassion and support in the workplace.

“Many people will not have been able to say a proper goodbye to loved ones due to coronavirus, which will have been incredibly difficult. It is vital for organisations to properly support those who are experiencing grief and loss by developing policies that offer long-term support and ensure that line managers are equipped to support bereaved employees.”

The CIPD has therefore launched new guidance for employers on compassionate bereavement support which encourages employers to develop a bereavement policy.

It hopes this will empower managers to support employees, put in place flexible working practices and provide information to employees on workplace support.

A separate line manager guide can also be downloaded which focuses on how to manage and support team members.

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