Are employees entitled to paid time off to organise or attend a funeral?

There is no statutory right to paid time off to organise or attend a funeral. Some employers will have a compassionate leave policy that provides for paid time off to organise or attend a funeral. Such policies often give a discretionary rather than a contractual right to time off. However, if the right is contractual, employees will be able to rely on it to take paid time off for this purpose.

There is a statutory right under s.57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to a reasonable amount of time off during working hours in order to take action that is necessary in consequence of the death of a dependant. A dependant is an employee's spouse, civil partner, child or parent; or a person living in the same household other than by reason of being a tenant, lodger, boarder or employee. Time off for making funeral arrangements or attending the funeral of a dependant will be covered by this provision (Forster v Cartwright Black [2004] IRLR 781 EAT). It is important to note that there is no right to be paid during the time off. This would be a matter for agreement between the employer and employee.