NCPC report recommends statutory bereavement leave

13 January 2014

The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) is calling on all employers to ensure they have an updated bereavement policy in place which sets out what support employees who have been bereaved are entitled to.

In a new report published by NCPC, Dying Matters and the National Bereavement Alliance, recommends that the government commissions a national review of employment practice and bereavement, which explores the feasibility of minimum statutory bereavement leave and highlights good practice that employers could learn from.

The report, Life after death, reveals survey data that shows a third of people (32%) who were bereaved in the last five years whilst in a job do not feel that their employer treated them with compassion.

Despite an uncertain jobs market, the ComRes research also found that more than half (56%) of people said they would consider leaving their job if their employer did not provide proper support if someone close to them died.

The research found considerable public backing for bereavement support in the workplace, with more than four in five people (87%) agreeing all employers should have a compassionate employment policy, including paid bereavement leave, flexible working and a range of other support.

Most people also appear to think that employers themselves could gain from a more compassionate approach to bereavement, with 82% of people saying that providing employees with paid bereavement leave is likely to be beneficial to the employer in the long-term. 81% said there should be a legal right to receive paid bereavement leave: at present, there is no statutory paid bereavement leave although employees have the right to “reasonable” unpaid time off to deal with practicalities such as arranging a funeral.

As a starting point, the report calls on all employers to ensure they have an updated bereavement policy, which sets out what support employees who have been bereaved are entitled to. It also recommends that the government commissions a national review of employment practice and bereavement, which explores the feasibility of minimum statutory bereavement leave and highlights good practice that employers could learn from.

Follow this link to read the full press release