Bereavement in the Workplace

Rosedale Training offers a bespoke three-hour training course for businesses aimed at line managers, HR teams and other selected staff.

Coping with bereavement in the workplace, when a colleague dies

Bereavement counselling and care

Grief is a normal response to loss. It can be painful, time consuming and exhausting and people react to it in different ways.  Shock, anger, disbelief, guilt, regret, numbness and loneliness are some emotions that most people feel. Grief impacts on the emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological wellbeing of the person who is bereaved and when these people are at work, it is inevitable that their grief will impact on your business.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to take away the pain. Grief is something that has to be worked through.   There is no set time to say when someone will feel better, and this means that bereavement in the workplace can be challenging to manage:-

  • Employees may need to take time off unexpectedly
  • Find their performance is impacted
  • Be temporarily unable to perform certain roles

A compassionate and supportive approach demonstrates that you value your staff, helps build commitment, reduces sickness absence and retains the workforce.

What the law says about bereavement in the workplace

Employment Rights Act 1996 gives a “day one” right for an employee to have ‘reasonable’ time off work to deal with an emergency, such as a bereavement involving a dependent. This could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on the employee for care.

An employee may be entitled to special or compassionate leave under their contract of employment.  CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) research suggests that, in general, most employees are given five days paid leave to deal with emergencies.

There is clear research to show that there is a link between bereavement and mental health.

An employer has a duty of care to employees generally and should consider the effect bereavement might have on the employee in undertaking their duties.

Furthermore, employees experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be as a consequence of bereavement, may be considered disabled in some cases and then the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for these employees to remove workplace barriers.

What support should the workplace provide?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 gives a “day one” right for an employee to have ‘reasonable’ time off work to deal with an emergency, such as a bereavement involving a dependent. This could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone else who depends on the employee for care.

An employee may be entitled to special or compassionate leave under their contract of employment. Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggests that, in general, most employees are given five days paid leave to deal with emergencies.

There is clear research to show that there is a link between bereavement and mental health and an employer has a duty of care to employees and should consider the effect bereavement might have on the employee in undertaking their duties.

Employees experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be as a consequence of bereavement, may be considered disabled in some cases. The Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for these employees to remove workplace barriers.

What does Rosedale Training offer to help us with this?

We offer a three-hour training course aimed at line managers, HR teams and other selected staff.

In the event that an employee has died, we can sometimes – if you are an employer within a 10-mile radius of a branch of Rosedale Funeral Home – offer advice over the telephone about how to deal with the immediate impact of this, from the time of death, throughout the arrangements for the funeral and over key dates that will fall over the coming months.

Find your local Rosedale Funeral Home branch

What our course covers

Our three-hour training course will help you to understand the impact that a bereavement can have on the individual, giving you a brief insight into some of the theories and models of grief to help you gain an insight into what bereavement feels like and that the full emotional impact of the bereavement may not be felt for some time after a death.

We will explain the importance of knowing how to communicate with the bereaved employee from day one and in the months that follow.  There are many things that can be very unhelpful to say and saying nothing can be equally if not more damaging.  We have years of experience of communicating with the bereaved and will provide examples of case studies for you to consider.

We will give you guidance on what kind of support might be appropriate for your organisation to offer and where you should access other professional support.

We will devote an entire section of the course to discuss what should be included in the bereavement policy for your organisation, and give you the tools that you need to be able to go away and fully develop this within the workplace.

We will also help you to unpick the ACAS guidelines around bereavement a work, and provide additional resources on bereavement support groups, helpful literature, details of special events in your area and ideas for signposting that will leave course participants feeling empowered to have compassionate and effective conversations with bereaved employees and ensure that they are supported in the workplace.

10 things to say to someone in grief

Our training courses