Acas has published new guidance to help employers support staff when they experience a bereavement.
The guidance offers advice on employees’ legal right to time off work and what pay they might be entitled to after somebody close to them dies, including the right to parental bereavement leave that was introduced in April 2020.
It also suggests how employers should support employees following a death, including what they should do to support colleagues if someone they work with dies.
Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “The death of a loved one is a devastating and life changing experience for any employee. It can impact someone at work immediately as well as long-term.
“We also cannot ignore the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on staff who have been unable to grieve in the usual way. Some people could not be with loved ones when they died or were not able to give them a proper send-off.
“Our new bereavement advice can help employers handle these difficult situations in a supportive, compassionate and practical way as well as understanding the law in this area.”
Acas advises that it’s important for employers to:
- be sensitive to what each person might need at the time
- consider the person’s physical and emotional wellbeing, including once they’ve returned to work, and
- recognise that grief affects everyone differently, there is no right or wrong way to grieve and it can affect people at different times following a death.
The guidance states that it is a good idea for organisations to have a bereavement policy in place and highlights some of the benefits this could bring and what a policy might include.