Scrase Law Employment Solicitors

New ACAS bereavement guidance published

ACAS has published new bereavement guidance to help employers deal with employees suffering a bereavement and understand the rights employees may have to time off and pay when they are bereaved. 

The guidance covers:

  • Leave and pay when someone dies
  • If an employee’s child dies
  • If an employee or their partner has a stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Parental bereavement leave and pay
  • What to do after a death as an employee
  • Supporting an employee after a death
  • If someone at work dies

The guidance sets  out the statutory leave that employees may be entitled to depending on the circumstances, including parental bereavement leave, time off for a dependent, shared parental leave, maternity or paternity leave.  Where there is no statutory right to time off, the guidance suggests that an employer considers compassionate leave, the use of annual leave or unpaid leave.  There is also guidance on how to deal with time off for attending a funeral.

The guidance advises employers to recognise that everyone experiences grief differently and each employee’s needs will be different.  It sets out guidance on how employers can support employees following a bereavement and includes case studies for illustration.  It advises that it is good practice to talk to the employee and:

  • Check their legal right to time off during bereavement
  • Consider their personal circumstances
  • Look at what has been offered other bereaved employees, to make sure the employer is treating everyone fairly
  • Offer some paid time off for bereavement if possible (which the employer may call ‘compassionate’, ‘bereavement’ or ‘special’ leave)
  • Talk about using sick leave, holiday or unpaid leave to cover their time off, if the employer is unable to offer other paid leave for bereavement
  • Ask if they need other support

The guidance also suggests putting in place a bereavement policy and gives links to organisations that ACAS suggests may be able to offer support.

28 February 2022

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