Managing Bereavement


Managing bereavement in the workplace can be quite complicated as everyone deals with the death of a loved one in a different way. In some circumstances the stress caused by the loss of a close relative can even lead to en employee becoming disabled under the Equality Act 2010 Acas has just released a new guide for employers which may help in setting up a bereavement policy for your handbook.

If you are unsure about adding new polices to your handbook, or if you still don’t have a staff handbook you can contact the employment experts at Premier Legal and they can design a bespoke staff handbook for your business. Remember all employees are entitled to reasonable time off in unforeseen circumstances, but it would be best practice to have everything documented in a policy.

The following bullet points are taken from the Acas Guide.

In the early stages of bereavement it is good practice for the employer to:

  • Offer their condolences
  • Ensure the bereaved employee knows that they are not expected to work on the day the death has taken place. They need to hear that work comes second and they must take what time is needed.
  • Begin a dialogue with the employee, asking how they would like to stay in contact. Is phone or email contact preferred? Are there particular times to avoid? Be aware that in the first few days, they may not wish to speak to anyone as they may be in shock. Be careful not to pressurise the employee into making decisions at this point.
  • Ask how much information they want their co-workers to know about the death and remember that this information is private under the Data Protection legislation and stick strictly to the facts.
  • Consider what action needs to be taken if the death is in the media; particularly if the press contacts the workplace or approach co-workers for an interview.
  • Ask if the employee wishes to be contacted by colleagues.
  • Be conscious of diversity within the workforce and the impact this may have on, for example, days taken to allow the employee to fulfil religious or cultural expectations such as mourning rituals.

Get the Acas Guide by clicking here

  • You can contact the employment experts at Premier Legal by calling: 0845 070 0505 (Please note: Calls to this number will cost approximately 4p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge) (Please note: Calls to this number will cost approximately 4p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge) or if you prefer not to use 08 numbers you can contact us at the Nottingham Head Office on: 0115 988 6211. Premier Legal have offices in Nottingham and Mayfair, London and operate throughout the UK.