Bereavement Leave Entitlement
Any employee suffering bereavement is entitled to leave from work to recover from the loss that they are suffering and to make any necessary family arrangements. This can be a very difficult time for employees so it is important that you ensure that they are aware of their entitlement should this situation arise. The most efficient way of doing so is through an employee handbook so that employees are aware in advance should they have to face such saddening circumstances.
Section 57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (‘The ERA’) provides that employees are entitled to a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to take necessary action ‘in consequence of the death of a dependant’.
A ‘dependant’ of an employee for the purpose of the leave is a:
- Spouse or Civil Partner,
- Parent, or
- Persons who live in the household of the employee (other than a boarder etc.).
The ERA only requires leave to be allowed for the above, but this does not mean that employers cannot allow leave for non-dependants. This is at your discretion and something to consider including in detail in the employee handbook. Further, there is no statutory right of an employee to paid bereavement leave and this is again at your discretion.
There is no legally laid down period of leave for bereavement. However, this is something employers should sensitively address in their employee handbooks and identify any support that may be available from you for your employees during this time.
For bespoke advice on bereavement leave or employment law related issues contact John Carruthers Solicitors and Solicitor Advocates.