When an employee experiences the loss of a loved one, it can have a huge impact on their life, including work. It can affect their concentration, motivation, and productivity, and it is becoming increasingly important for employers to be aware of how to support them.
Taking place from the 8th-14th May 2023, Dying Matters Week is a great reminder of the importance of being prepared for the worst, and of the need to support those who are dealing with grief. It is also a reminder of our legal rights when it comes to bereavement leave so that we can ensure our loved ones and colleagues are supported in the best possible way.
Here, Beyond Legal detail everything you need to know about managing grief in the workplace.
How can I support grieving employees?
The first step is to be understanding and sensitive to the situation. Try to be flexible with working hours and deadlines, and offer whatever support you can to help them through this difficult time. You might also want to consider allowing them to take some time off, either as paid or unpaid leave, to give them the space to grieve.
If the employee is struggling to cope with their grief, then it is important to provide access to counselling or other forms of support. This could be through an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), or by referring them to specialist services that can provide the help they need.
Finally, it is important to remember that everyone grieves in their own way, and at their own pace. Allow your employee the time and space to process their grief, and be patient with them as they adjust to the new normal.
What are their legal rights?
If an employee experiences the death of a close relative, then they are legally entitled to a certain amount of bereavement leave. Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, all employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with a death in the family, including funerals and any other associated matters.
The amount of leave taken will depend on the individual’s circumstances, and it is important to bear in mind that the employer has the right to refuse to grant leave if they consider it to be unreasonable.
It is also important to note that employees have the right to take bereavement leave without fear of dismissal or any other detriment. They are also entitled to receive their usual pay while they are on leave, unless they are taking unpaid leave.
Ultimately, if you are an employer, it is important to be aware of these rights and to be understanding and supportive of an employee who is dealing with bereavement.
Dying Matters Week 2023
The aim of Dying Matters Week 2023 is to bring communities together to talk about and raise awareness of death and bereavement in the workplace. Organised by Hospiscare, it is an opportunity for employers across the UK to educate their teams on the initiatives in place to support them if a loved one were to pass away.
Get advice from Beyond Legal
Beyond Legal are well-versed in all areas of employment law. From contracts and settlement agreements to issues of unfair dismissal, we are able to provide support to employers and employees alike. Get in touch today.