There is currently no legal entitlement to bereavement leave. Unless your employer provides a contractual right for bereavement leave when a loved one passes away you have no right to paid or unpaid time off work. The only entitlement is to reasonable time off to take action necessary in consequence of a death of a dependent.
An understanding employer may allow you paid time off or allow you to utilise holiday. If not you could face disciplinary action for unauthorised leave or require a doctor to sign you off sick.
The problem with a statutory right is that people deal with bereavement differently. Some need to work and others require extended periods of leave. A requirement for an employee to take a period of time off could even be detrimental if they enter a period of isolationism.
Legislating on this issue would be difficult. Should it only apply to immediate relatives or should it be for extended families. What if the dependent lives abroad should you be given more time off. The death of a family pet could cause as much grief as a relative for some, should they be given the right?
To date the government seems to prefer for Employers to adopt their own policies. It will be interesting to see if a failure by employer to account for an employee’s bereavement could be seen as a breach of mutual trust and confidence.
Andrew is a Commercial & Employment Law solicitor in Leicester. Our Solicitors in Leicester are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Leicester please contact us.
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