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How to support a bereaved employee

Author: Christine Husbands, RedArc

Summary

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  • Ensure that managers and HR teams are mindful of the potential immediate and long-term effects of grief when dealing with a bereaved employee.
  • Limit initial conversations with the employee to offering condolences and addressing immediate matters, but leave detailed discussions until a later date.
  • Understand the limited right to statutory time off when someone dies.
  • Follow the organisation's compassionate leave or bereavement leave policy, if there is one.
  • Take into account the employee's particular circumstances and recognise that employees may need additional time off.
  • Where the employee has access to external support services through an employee assistance programme or group insurance, ensure that they are aware of this.
  • Discuss with the employee any temporary changes that they may need to their hours or role to enable them to return to work.
  • Be aware that bereavement can have a long-lasting impact and that the employee may need ongoing flexibility and support.