The workplace services body Acas has published a new guide on managing bereavement in the workplace.
Research has found that a third of employees who had suffered bereavement in the past five years felt their employer had not treated them with compassion. Nearly 90 per cent of people believe that all employers should include paid bereavement leave as part of a compassionate employment policy.
The new guide has been developed in partnership with a number of organisations, including bereavement leave campaigner Lucy Herd and Cruse Bereavement Care.
The Chair of Acas, Sir Brendan Barber, said:
“Grief from the death of a loved one can be an extremely sad and emotional experience for anyone. It can affect people in different ways in the workplace and managers should have the skills needed to handle it.
“The guide aims to help employers manage this difficult situation with their employee in the immediate aftermath of bereavement as well as longer term.
“It includes advice for managers on how to get the balance right in order to be supportive, compassionate, flexible and practical towards employees who are dealing with bereavement.”
The advice given by Acas to employers includes ensuring that a calm empathetic work from all colleagues and managers will minimise the employee’s anxiety about returning to work and to develop a compassionate bereavement plan that includes HR, support staff, trade unions and management.
Other advice includes offering a flexible approach to working, such as offering part time hours or flexible work is likely to support and retain the employee when looking at the family unit of the bereaved.
Acas’ full guidance on Managing bereavement in the workplace is available at www.acas.org.uk/bereavement.