Nearly a quarter of workers did not get the support they needed from their employer after a bereavement, according to a survey by CPJ Field Funeral Directors.
More than four in 10 people did not receive paid leave to attend the funeral of a loved one and 19% did not take any leave to mourn after the death.
The company found that 24% of those who had experienced bereavement felt they had not received the right level of support, while 27% wished they had received more support before the death of their loved one, such as free time to take care of them.
Three-quarters of workers think there should be a formal bereavement policy in place for UK employers, and 94% of those workers think it should be flexible because the circumstances surrounding the death can be so varied.
According to the charity Sue Ryder, bereavement at work costs the UK economy £23billion a year due to reduced tax revenue and increased use of the NHS and social services. In 2020, the charity called on the government to introduce two weeks of paid bereavement leave.
CPJ Field has launched a campaign and petition under the #paidleavetogrieve, encouraging political parties to include bereavement policy pledges in their 2024 election manifestos.
Jeremy Field, General Manager of CPJ Field, said, “Just as no two lives are the same, neither is the grief experience of two people.
“Through our experience supporting families after the death of a loved one and beyond, we have identified a need in the UK for a formal employer bereavement policy. We are calling on UK employers to expand their provision of compassionate leave and provide paid leave to all workers when they need it most. »
While many employers offer compassionate care leave, there is currently no legal right to paid leave when an employee’s loved one dies. Parental bereavement leave and pay are, however, available in the event that an employee’s child dies or the employee suffers a stillbirth.
Travel writer Flora Baker, who works with CPJ Field on its political bereavement campaign, said: “When I found out my dad was dying, I thought I knew what was coming because I I had already experienced it with my mother nine years earlier… but the grief of her death was very different.
“Every relationship you have is unique, so it makes sense that grief is too. Grieving is not a linear process: we feel isolated by these intense emotions and don’t know how to ‘recover’ from them.
She added that speaking honestly about the loss would help employees support each other during a difficult time.