What Is Bereavement Leave? How To Ask For Bereavement Leave?

by Job & Career 29 September 2023

Bereavement Leave

When a working professional loses someone close to them, they can apply for bereavement leave to deal with this sudden crisis in their life. 

The death of someone close always takes a toll on anyone. The person suffering the loss has to take care of the funeral and other mandatory processes affected by the death of someone in the family or of a relative. 

Grieving is a process that takes an emotional, physical, and mental toll on anyone. Bereavement leave helps a working professional take some time off from work so that their employees can process themselves and come back to a normal state.

In this article, I have provided answers to all your queries you have regarding bereavement leave. I suggest thoroughly reviewing this article to have a clear idea about bereavement leave.

What Is Bereavement Leave?

What Is Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave is a policy that allows employees to take time off from work upon the loss of someone close. Employees can take bereavement leave to attend the funeral, deal with the legal or financial matters involving the death, and regulate their emotions.

The loss of someone close can affect anyone emotionally and mentally. This mental state is practically against anyone’s capabilities to perform their occupational work. That is why different companies have bereavement leave policies. The policies vary from company to company, and the policies might be different for each of the companies as well.

If you have to take bereavement leave, it is best to discuss the details of your employer’s bereavement policy with the HRs. Depending on the policies of your employer, bereavement leaves can be either paid or unpaid.

Do Employers Have To Provide Bereavement Leave By Law?

Neither the federal law nor the state law (except for Oregon) requires employers to make bereavement law mandatory for employees. However, the HR department of some of the employers thinks all of these unique situations through. These policies may allow employees some flexibility to deal with the situations should the situation get more complex for the employee to handle. 

However, if someone is part of a union, they can negotiate with the employers to add a new bereavement policy or ask them for new terms regarding bereavement leave. This process can involve deciding the rule’s length and adding the policy terms to the employee handbook.

Similarly, bereavement leave is not mandatory and may not be required unless the employee is facing such circumstances. According to the company’s policy, bereavement leave is provided to the employees so that they can use it at their own discretion. 

When Can An Employee Use Bereavement Leave?

When Can An Employee Use Bereavement Leave

When an employee is going through the loss of someone close to them (a family member or a relative), they can use bereavement leave. Different companies have different policies regarding bereavement leave. Some companies allow employees to take a leave when their close friends or even friends die.

Different organizations provide different numbers of days off from work. Some organizations also allow employees to take leave based on their relationship with the deceased person. Usually, the bereavement leave consists of three consecutive workdays. However, the workplace might also allow the employees two days off in the week when their closest person dies. They can take another day off in the next week.

Is Bereavement Leave Usually Unpaid Or Paid?

Bereavement leave can be paid and unpaid according to the employer’s policy. Some employers provide bereavement leave and pay for the days taken off. On the other hand, some employees allow employers to provide bereavement leave as paid leave. Employers also allow employees to take a mix of paid and unpaid leave through their bereavement leave policy. However, you can discuss the policy, the conditions, and the nature of the leave your employer provides as bereavement leave. 

What Does A Bereavement Leave Policy Look Like?

What Does A Bereavement Leave Policy Look Like

Here are some of the common sections most bereavement leave policies include –


Every bereavement leave policy has a guideline that outlines different information such as – managing the finances, handling any legal aspects, and recovering emotionally and mentally. 


The eligibility part of a bereavement leave includes information regarding who, under this policy, can apply for a bereavement leave. Some companies can limit bereavement leave only for full-time employees. Some employers may restrict bereavement leave only when the employee faces the death of a family member or an instant relative.


The procedure part of a common bereavement leave policy outlines how an employee can apply for a leave. This section can also include details regarding the benefits of the leave. 


The leave policy must also include how long an employee can take a leave of absence. The employee needs to understand the policies their employer has in place for such unforeseen events. Knowing the details can help them use these policies effectively without affecting their job security.

How To Ask For Bereavement Leave?

If you are dealing with the death of someone close, then you can ask for a bereavement leave. First, you need to reach out to the HR department of your employer and ask them about the procedures. 

Usually, the HR department asks you to send an email or a note. Sometimes, they can also require you to fill out a form and provide details regarding your relationship with the deceased person. Some employers might also ask you for proof of the loss and require you to submit an obituary. The HR department can also discuss how long the leave period will be and if you can extend it if needed. 

Bottom Line

There is no need to worry if the employer does not have a bereavement leave policy yet. If you were to face such a situation, the employer might ask you to take leave under the company’s sick leave policy or vacation time allowances you have. Also, according to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees can ask for unpaid leave when they face such circumstances. 

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Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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