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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Bereavement in the workplace refers to the experience of grieving due to the loss of a loved one, which significantly impacts an employee's emotional well-being and ability to perform their job duties. 

This loss could be due to the death of a family member, friend, or even a colleague. It is a natural human response, but its effects can extend into the workplace, affecting productivity, morale, and overall employee engagement.

What is bereavement?

Bereavement refers to the state of mourning or grief experienced after the death of a loved one. It involves coping with the emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical effects of loss.

What is bereavement leave?

Bereavement leave, also known as compassionate leave or grievance leave, is a type of paid time off granted to employees to allow them to cope with the death of a close family member or loved one.

What does family bereavement mean?

Family bereavement refers to the experience of losing a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or grandparent. It often involves a significant emotional and psychological impact on the surviving family members.

What family members qualify for bereavement leave?

The specific family members eligible for bereavement leave can vary depending on the employer's policies and local laws. Typically, immediate family members like spouses, parents, children, and siblings are included, but some employers may extend coverage to other relatives or close relationships.

Do you get paid for bereavement days?

In many cases, bereavement leave is paid time off. Still, the specific compensation policies vary between employers and may depend on factors such as length of employment, employment contract terms, and local laws.

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What is bereavement allowance?

Bereavement allowance, a death or survivor's benefit, is a financial payment provided to the surviving family members or beneficiaries of a deceased individual. It may come from insurance policies, government programs, or employer benefits.

What is bereavement pay?

Bereavement pay refers to the compensation or salary provided to an employee during their bereavement leave. This pay is intended to support the employee financially while they take time off to mourn the loss of a loved one.

What is a family bereavement?

Family bereavement refers to the collective experience of grief and mourning within a family following the death of a close family member. It involves supporting one another through the emotional and practical challenges of loss.

What is the the role of employers in bereavement?

The role of employers in such a process are as follows:

  • Recognizing the importance of bereavement support: Employers play a crucial role in acknowledging and addressing bereavement in the workplace. Providing support demonstrates empathy and helps employees navigate through a challenging time.
  • Legal and ethical considerations: Employers must adhere to legal requirements regarding bereavement leave and accommodation for grieving employees. Additionally, there are ethical obligations to create a supportive environment that respects employees' emotional needs during loss.
  • Creating a compassionate workplace culture: Fostering a culture of compassion and understanding enables employees to feel supported and valued. This includes promoting open communication, empathy, and flexibility in accommodating employees' needs during bereavement.

How many days bereavement leave?

The number of days granted for bereavement leave varies depending on the employer's policies, local laws, and the relationship of the deceased to the employee. It typically ranges from one to five days.

How long can you have off work for bereavement?

The duration of bereavement leave is usually determined by the employer's policies, employment contract, or collective bargaining agreements. Some employers may offer additional unpaid leave or flexible working arrangements to accommodate longer periods of mourning.

How to take bereavement leave?

Employees usually need to notify their employer or HR department about the need for bereavement leave as soon as possible. They may be required to provide documentation, such as a death certificate or obituary, to support their request.

How does bereavement take place given different situation?

Bereavement takes place very differently, in different context:

  • Psychological impact of bereavement on employees: Bereavement can have profound psychological effects on employees, including feelings of sadness, shock, anger, guilt, and even depression. These emotions can affect concentration, decision-making abilities, and interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
  • Common reactions and coping mechanisms: Individuals may exhibit a variety of reactions to grief, such as withdrawal, irritability, or difficulty concentrating. Coping mechanisms vary from person to person and may include seeking social support, engaging in comfort activities, or professional counseling.
  • Cultural and personal differences in grieving processes: Recognizing that cultural and personal backgrounds influence how individuals grieve is essential. Some cultures may have specific rituals or mourning practices, while personal beliefs and experiences shape the grieving process. Understanding these differences fosters a more compassionate and supportive workplace environment.

How to implement a bereavement support programs?

To include a bereavement support program, you need to do the following:

  • Developing bereavement policies and procedures: Establishing clear bereavement policies outlines the process for requesting time off, accessing support services, and returning to work following a loss. These policies should be communicated effectively to all employees.
  • Providing flexible time off and remote work options: Offering flexible time off allows employees to attend funeral services, manage personal affairs, and grieve without the added stress of work obligations. Remote work options can provide additional flexibility during this challenging time.
  • Offering counseling and support services: Employers can provide access to counseling services or employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help employees cope and navigate the grieving process. These resources offer professional support and guidance to employees and their families.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How to set up communication for bereavement support?

To set up communication for bereavement, you need to do the following:

  • Training managers and HR personnel on handling bereavement situations: Managers and HR personnel should receive training on supporting grieving employees effectively. This includes active listening skills, understanding bereavement policies, and providing appropriate accommodations.
  • Communicating bereavement policies and resources to employees: Clear communication of bereavement policies, support services, and available resources ensures employees know where to turn for assistance during loss.
  • Encouraging open dialogue and support among co-workers: Encouraging open dialogue and support among co-workers creates a compassionate and understanding workplace culture. Employees should feel comfortable discussing their needs and offering support to grieving colleagues.

How to measure the impact of bereavement support programs?

Gathering employee feedback and assessing the effectiveness of bereavement support programs allows employers to make necessary adjustments and improvements. Continuous evaluation ensures that the support system remains responsive to employees' needs.

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