An employee of your business suffering a bereavement is a deeply saddening time, and is likely to leave the bereaved individual requiring time away from work. Due to the sensitive nature of a bereavement, it is highly important that your business keeps employees informed of their bereavement leave entitlement.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 gives employees the statutory right to a reasonable amount of time away from work in order to take action that is necessary in consequence of the death of a dependant. There is no statutory right to be paid during this leave, but employers should check individual contracts of employment in case contractual provision is made. The same act defines that the people connected to an employee which allows for bereavement leave are as follows:

  • Employee’s spouse
  • Civil partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • An individual the employee provided care for

Bereavement leave is only legally required to be given for the above, however employers can allow leave for non-dependents at their own discretion.

Length of bereavement leave

There is no set legal length to leave which employees must be given after suffering a bereavement. Despite this, it is not uncommon for bereavement entitlement to be included in an employee handbook, meaning that employers should always be aware of any such regulations laid out in their employee handbooks.

As well as ensuring that your employees have enough time off from work to grieve and make the necessary arrangements, you should also ensure that they are aware of the assistance available to them from an employee assistance programme, offering assistance to workers in their time of need, such as a bereavement or suffering bullying at work.

Guidance on bereavement leave from Peninsula

If you need advice on bereavement leave and how your business should handle these tragic circumstances, call Peninsula free on 0844 892 2772. Alternatively you can use email by contacting one of our vastly experienced team of solicitors on