We're Giving Away Cash! Enter to Win.

Skip to Main Content

Should Your Company Offer Bereavement Leave?

Balancing work and family is always a challenge. And it can be especially hard when a family member dies.

If one of your workers suffers a death in the family, the sorrow of loss is on their shoulders. For many it’s a time when work is the last thing they feel like doing. But you also face a delicate question as an employer—how do you balance business duties with compassion?

Your company’s work must carry on even when team members are going through tough times. As with all benefits, the best approach will vary from company to company. Here are a few of the ways some companies are benefiting their grieving employees.

Bereavement Leave as a Paid Benefit

According to a 2014 report on bereavement leave from the Society for Human Resource Management, this benefit is generally separate from other types of paid leave. For example, companies offering this form of leave do so in addition to vacation or sick days.

Several factors determine how much time off employers allow, including:

  • The relationship between the employee and the deceased, with more time offered for immediate family deaths. Some companies extend the paid benefit for the deaths of step-relatives and grandparents. Others do so without pay.
  • Whether the employee has “responsibility for funeral and estate arrangements,” with some companies extending more time to accommodate such duties.
  • The distance to the funeral. Employers may decide to allow more (or less) time off depending on how long a trip the employee is taking.

Over the last two years, several state legislatures have discussed bills requiring private-sector employers to grant bereavement leave to covered employees. So far Oregon is the only state to make such leave a legal requirement.

Time Off for a Pet’s Death?

You might be surprised to learn some companies are granting time off to grieve a beloved pet.

Does your business have the right insurance? Connect with a local pro to learn more.

In 2016, ABC News reported pet bereavement is becoming a thing at businesses nationwide. Kimpton Hotels and Trupanion Insurance are just two firms allowing workers time off work to grieve the death of a pet.

Other companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Salesforce said they have no official policy on pet grief but would grant a few days off if an employee requested it.

Balancing Business and Compassion

Encouraging a valued but grieving employee to take time off is a great way to earn that worker’s loyalty.

Depending on the flow of your business or how critical a worker’s duties are to your overall production, you might need to decide about leave on a case-by-case basis. But try to allow some time off for bereavement.

Some companies can afford temporary hires to do the work of employees on bereavement leave, but many obviously can’t. Most daily duties can be covered in a pinch by coworkers, and it gives teams a good feeling to know they’re pulling together behind a hurting teammate. Either way, employees who know how much you value them stick around and work hard.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

Related Articles

what does hr look like in 2021

What Does HR in 2021 Look Like?

9 Minute Read | Business

What does the future of HR look like? It depends on how you choose to respond to the lessons 2020 taught.

Ramsey Solutions  Ramsey Solutions

The 2020 Smarty Award Winners

The 2020 Smarty Award Winners

7 Minute Read | Business

Here at SmartDollar, we’re SO proud of all the good we see being done by dedicated men and women in HR (and the companies they represent). Join us in congratulating the 2020 Smarty Award Winners!

Ramsey Solutions  Ramsey Solutions


Telling the Truth: How Financial Wellness Firms Make Money

9 Minute Read | Business

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to a financial wellness program. That’s why it’s important to really do your homework—and look at how financial wellness firms make money—because sometimes things just aren’t what they seem. Not All Financial Wellness Programs Are Created Equal.

Ramsey Solutions  Ramsey Solutions