HR Glossary


Updated on:
August 23, 2022


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What is Bereavement?

Bereavement is the death of someone close to you or the loss of a loved one. It is the loss of someone or something that is significant. After the death of a close one or personal tragedy, your reaction and coping style are important ways to help you recover from the loss.

In an organizational setting, bereavement refers to the death of an employee or the loss of an important staff member. Many times, people closely involved with the employee, such as family, friends, and colleagues, experience their own loss as a result of the death.

Bereavement in the workplace can have many negative effects, such as less employee productivity, loss of institutional knowledge, and reduced morale.

An effective bereavement policy will make it clear to employees what to expect after a death. It should clarify the difference between bereavement, sick leave, and vacation time, both in your handbook and in your manager training. Many employers offer three days’ leave to prepare for a close family member’s funeral or one day to attend the funeral for an extended family member. You can use this standard as a base for offering more generous policies, or if your organization can’t offer this basic time, you can develop an explanation for why the reduced leave is necessary.