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What is bereavement? 

Bereavement is the experience of losing a family member or a loved one. It is characterized by a period of mourning. In HR, bereavement is also a kind of leave that employees can take following the death of a loved one. 

While each experience of loss is personal and unique to each individual, it is generally a time when employees can focus on mourning as well as arranging logistics for the funeral and other personal matters. 

Concerning bereavement, only the state of Oregon requires employers to provide bereavement leave of up to weeks as indicated in the Oregon Family Leave Act. This applies to all organizations with at least 25 employees. However, there is no federal mandate requiring companies in the U.S. to have bereavement leave. While this is the case, the decision on having a bereavement leave policy ultimately rests on the organization or employer. 

If a business does decide to have a bereavement leave policy in place, it is essential to have clear parameters, definitions, and procedures. How long should bereavement leave be? Many employers offer at least three full working days as paid leave after the loss of a loved one. This can cover one day for the funeral and two other days for other personal obligations and recovery. 

The development of a bereavement leave policy should be treated with sensitivity and compassion.

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