There are many different types of leave an employee can take during their employment, and in addition to the statutory or paid absences, there are some discretionary types of leave a Company may also provide.

One such discretionary leave is bereavement or compassionate leave. This occurs under unfortunate circumstances where time off is given due to the death of a close family member or friend.

As mentioned this is a discretionary leave, and although no statutory obligation to do so, this is one of the areas where a Company is likely to grant limited paid time off to an employee.

Any leave the employee will be entitled to will generally depend on what is set out in their Contract of Employment or Employee Handbook. However, leave can also be determined by what is deemed to be custom and practice within the Company.

The amount of leave granted may vary from Company to Company and will for the most part depend on the closeness of the deceased relative. Special consideration is usually given to the particular circumstances of the situation.

For bereavement leave, up to three days paid leave for the death of close family members is common, although some organisations may provide five days on a discretionary basis.

A close family member is usually defined as a spouse or civil partner, daughter, son, parent, sister or brother and may include grandparents or in laws. In the event of death of grandparents, in laws, aunt or uncle one day may be granted.

However custom and practice will also need to be followed. If employees have been given additional paid time off for bereavement in the past, it will be considered unfair not to give this time off to another employee, so the policy the Company has in place on Bereavement Leave should be applied consistently.

It is prudent to have a detailed policy if the Company does differentiate between the number of days provides, and these details should be clearly stated in the policy.

If you have any queries relating to Bereavement Leave or wish to ensure your policies are up to date please contact Peninsula Business Services on 1890 252 923 and quote Beauty Pro for a free advice call.