H.R. Questions: How Much Time Off Should an Employer Provide for Bereavement Leave?

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Generally, bereavement leave is trending among our members at 3-5 days unpaid or the worker can use sick/vacation/PTO to cover the days.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics says this:  https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/paid-leave-in-private-industry-over-the-past-20-years.htm

Paid funeral leave provides time off from work because of a death in the family. The period of absence is usually limited to a few days (for example, 3 paid days for immediate family members and 1 paid day for other relatives).


Our members generally provide paid bereavement leave days if the person has accrued leave. Some larger companies do provide paid time for bereavement in addition to accrued time off. This is really the choice of the employer and is based on size, budget, and other financial considerations.


HRCI says 3-7 days based on the relationship. https://www.hrci.org/community/blogs-and-announcements/hr-leads-business-blog/hr-leads-business/2020/01/27/time-to-grieve-are-a-few-days-of-bereavement-leave-enough#:


The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans (IFEBP) did a study on how many days of paid leave businesses offered based on the relationship of the deceased to the employee. It fell into the following three groups:

The IFEBP provided the following breakdown of days off when an employee experiences the death of a spouse.

  • Two days – 2%
  • Three days – 56%
  • Four days – 5%
  • Five days – 29%
  • Six or more days – 5%

The IFEBP reported that the breakdown of time off for this cohort was similar to the leave offered for the loss of a spouse.

  • Two days – 3%
  • Three days – 60%
  • Four days – 5%
  • Five days – 27%
  • Six or more days – 3%

The IFEBP reported that most businesses offered one day of bereavement leave to attend the funeral of aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.


I hope this helps!


Lisa Smith, SPHR, SCP

EEOC Certified Investigator


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Lisa Smith, SPHR, SHRM – SCP
Certified EEO Investigator (EEOC)
Lead Support and Content Chief – HelpDeskforHR.com
“You cannot be audit-proof, but you can Be Audit-Secure.”

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