By arch.portfolio member Kareena Prescott.

On 16 February 2022, Acas published new guidance, Time off work for a bereavement.

The guidance aims to help employers understand the time off and pay that a bereaved employee may be entitled to and provides advice to employers about dealing with bereavement in the workplace.

The guidance covers bereavements that may be experienced by an employee following the death of a dependant, a child, stillbirth, miscarriage or a colleague, as well as deaths outside of these categories. It explains the statutory rights that a bereaved employee may be entitled to, including dependant’s leave, parental bereavement leave, maternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave and paternity leave. In circumstances where there is no legal right to time off and the employer does not offer compassionate leave, the guidance recommends that employers consider the use of annual leave, sick leave or unpaid leave to support bereaved employees.

The guidance also explains the rights to pay for time off taken as a result of a bereavement.

The guidance sets out how employers should support employees following a bereavement and includes case studies to illustrate this. Employers are advised to recognise that grief affects everyone differently and to tailor the support provided to a bereaved employee, both at the time of the bereavement and after they have returned to work.

The guidance emphasises the importance of sensitive communications with bereaved employees, and employers are advised not to discriminate against bereaved employees when considering time off and support provided.

The guidance also includes a section aimed at employees which provides advice on what they should do after a death.

The guidance recommends that employers have a workplace bereavement policy to cover time off and pay.

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