Friday, 13 March 2009

Going to Grandma's Funeral

Bereavement leave is becoming a tricky subject. The traditional "day off for Grandma's Funeral" is getting more complex.

Hartlepool Council for example have removed any reference to bereavement leave from the "caring for adults and caring for children leave schemes" and now have a simple statement that all employees are eligible to half a day leave to attend a funeral. In these days of political correctness this is not identified as a close relative's funeral or a friend's funeral, it is just a half day leave to attend a funeral. It doesn't say in the policy that the employee needs to say who's funeral they are attending, nor does there appear to be any limit on how many funerals you can attend in a year. It would probably offend the individual's Human rights to even ask! No-one need ever have to "go to the dentist" ever again, they can just be "at a funeral". Blanche from Coronation Street would be in her element, she loves a good funeral, doesn't matter who's!

A manager may further grant, at their discretion, up to a maximum of 3 days paid leave and in exceptional circumstances 5 days paid leave. It is not necessary for this bereavement leave to be taken as one block. To determine whether an employee is to be granted this additional Bereavement Leave then the closeness of the employees’ relationship to the deceased will be taken into consideration. The term "close relative" or the actual family member/relationship are not defined e.g. mother, father, uncle etc as it is felt that from a diversity perspective this would be too narrow, particularly in today’s climate e.g. same sex relationships/civil partnerships.

The degree to which the employee is involved in responsibilities arising from the bereavement e.g. death certificate, funeral arrangements, house sale / clearance, etc will also be taken into consideration. Should 5 days not be enough time due to the geographical location of the funeral, then the employee must make their own provision for this i.e. annual leave, flexi-leave or unpaid leave. So going to Barbados to attend a funeral might be OK but only the first 5 days of the trip would be paid!

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