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Bereavement leave company policy

This sample bereavement policy is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and serves as a starting point for setting up your employment policies. A bereavement leave policy may also be referred to as a compassionate leave policy.

Be sure to check bereavement time off laws in your location before drafting your bereavement leave policy. For example, the law in the U.K. and the U.S. doesn’t provide for any leave in cases of bereavement, while the law in France does.

Bereavement leave policy for companies

Policy brief & purpose

Our work bereavement policy outlines our provisions for employees who lose a loved one. If this happens, we want to support our employees and allow them time to mourn and cope.

What is bereavement leave?

Bereavement leave (or compassionate leave) is a type of time off given to employees when a member of their immediate family or a close friend dies. This time off might be paid or unpaid based on each company’s policy or bereavement leave laws (where applicable).


What is considered immediate family for bereavement leave?

In this policy, we define immediate family as spouses or domestic partners, all first degree relatives (parents, siblings and children), grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. In-laws of the same types are included, as well as adopted parents, adopted children, legal guardians, half- and step-relatives.

Friends are also an important part of our lives and their loss may hurt as much as losing a relative. Should you lose a close friend, you’re still entitled to the same amount of bereavement leave to attend the funeral and mourn.

Policy elements

At a minimum, we’ll offer the typical bereavement leave of [three] days per death. We will grant this bereavement time off for the following reasons:

  • Arrangement of a funeral or memorial service
  • Attendance of a funeral or memorial service
  • Resolving matters of inheritance
  • Fulfillment of family obligations
  • Personal mourning

You may take [two more days] of leave if long-distance travel is involved.

If you have complex matters to take care of (such as estate affairs), you can extend your leave by [one week of unpaid time off]. If you require additional time off for personal reasons, you may use your remaining paid time off (PTO).

Is bereavement leave paid?

For the standard bereavement leave — first [three days] — you’ll receive your standard wage or salary as bereavement pay, according to our company’s policy. Any additional leave will be unpaid unless you choose to supplement your bereavement days off with your standard PTO.


Bereavement leave request

If you need to take bereavement leave, please inform your manager and HR as soon as possible. You can do this via email [or via our HR software].

Normally, we [don’t] require proof of death. You may need to bring us proof of travel or other documents if you request additional time off.

Managers must adhere to policy regulations and be supportive of employee bereavement during difficult times. You may face disciplinary action if you handle the situation inappropriately (e.g. refuse to approve bereavement leave for any reason).


Disclaimer: This policy template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor Workable will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this policy.
Further reading

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