You are an Employee. But you are a Human Being with Emotions first.
If you are a working individual, you know by now that your deadlines at work do not stop accidents from happening. Grief knows no bounds. A lot of us have lost dear members of our family. In such difficult times, the last thing we want to concentrate on is work. It is the time that we take to be there and support our family members. Not to mention that we ourselves need time to cope with the loss of a loved one.
Don’t worry. Employment laws of the United States protect your rights as a human and as an employee. Each employee is entitled to benefits such as maternity leaves, paternity leaves, paid and unpaid sick leaves, and a lot more. Even if you have lost your job recently, there are provisions that allow you to apply for unemployment benefits to help you through tough times.
In this article, we will tell you all about bereavement leaves, applicable laws, and cases similar to yours. By the end of this article, all your questions, such as “is bereavement leave paid?”, “who is considered immediate family for bereavement leave” will be answered.
So, let us begin now.
What Is Bereavement Leave?
As the name suggests, bereavement leaves are leaves taken for compassionate or grievance grounds. Hence it is also known as compassionate leave and Grievance leave. A bereavement leave is when one can take time off work to cope with their loss and make arrangements necessary for funerals, wakes, and memorials.
These can be taken by both employers and employees. It is a system through which you, as an employee, can take a break from the office to handle situations at home without the fear of losing your job or other consequences of absence.
The details terms and conditions of your particular bereavement leaves can vary according to your circumstances and your company policies. The various components of bereavement leaves can be the eligibility criteria, duration, paid or unpaid leaves, and resources provided at work.
Since When Have Bereavement Leaves Been In Existence?
These leaves have been around since the early 19th century. Soldiers used to observe periods of mourning when a family member passed away. Fellow soldiers or superiors understood that all humans need empathy and time to cope with grief.
The concept kept evolving over time. As time went on, the need for employees to cope with the loss of a loved one became more and more important. After all, a compassionate workplace ensures happy employees and good productivity.
With the 20th century came industrialization. Protests and labor movements gained momentum. Employees were now conscious of their rights. Civil rights activists started advocating for better working conditions, including the consideration of personal needs.
Slowly and gradually, the United States started incorporating policies of paid leaves for illness and family emergencies. By the end of this century, labor unions had worked exceptionally hard to establish employee benefits, including paid bereavement leaves.
Fast forward to the 21st Century, companies now offer bereavement leave as part of their employee benefits package. There are federal laws that make it essential for all organizations to grant bereavement leaves to their employees. It is now an essential component marking the importance of employee well-being and work-life balance.
Legal Provisions On Bereavement Leaves In The United States
Unfortunately, there is no provision under federal law in the United States that allows you to take bereavement leave.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has certain provisions that you could use to your advantage in case of loss of a family member. Under this Act, all eligible employees can enjoy 12 weeks of unpaid leaves in a 12-month period.
They can avail of these leaves to take care of serious health conditions for themselves or their family member. If an employee needs time off to cope with mental stress or grief arising out of the death of a family member, they are well eligible under this Act.
What Does Eligibility Mean In This Case?
The FML Act allows eligible employees to take unpaid leaves for specific family and medical reasons. This can include the health conditions of both the employee and a family member. Under these conditions, grief-related issues caused by the death of a family member might qualify. However, this may depend on the facts of your particular case.
However, the employee should meet these requirements before being eligible for bereavement leave.
- Their company must have 49 other employees.
- They must have worked here for at least 12 months (A minimum of 1,250 hours in the past 12 months).
- This particular employee must have sufficient cause to apply for bereavement leave. For instance serious health condition or the illness of an immediate family member due to grief.
- If the employee is experiencing health problems as a result of the emotional or physical stress due to the death of a family member.
How Long Is Bereavement Leave?
Employees covered by the FMLA have the right to take unpaid leave for a total of 12 weeks within a 12-month period. Now you can utilize these leaves for bereavement if it suits your needs.
By law, your employers are not mandated to provide paid leave in the event of a family member’s death, many choose to offer it as an optional employee benefit. You can also talk to your HR or supervisors to use up accrued vacation days or personal leave days for bereavement purposes.
Who Is Considered Immediate Family For Bereavement Leave?
What “immediate family” means when one applies for bereavement leave can vary based on company policies, jurisdiction, and even what is generally accepted as an immediate family according to norms. These are the people usually included in this definition.
- This can include a spouse, that is, a husband or wife.
- It can also include biological children, adopted, and even stepchildren.
- Parents, be it biological or adoptive, are included in this list.
- Maternal and paternal brothers and sisters.
- Grandmothers and grandfathers.
- Grandsons and granddaughters.
- All guardians appointed by the law take legal responsibility for the employee or the employee’s children.
- Parents, siblings, or children of the spouse or domestic partner of the employee.
- Grandparents of the employee’s spouse.
- Romantic/domestic partners can also fall under this category.
To Conclude: Is Bereavement Leave Paid?
Bereavement leaves can be paid or unpaid. This usually depends on the state that you live in, the employment laws of that state, and also the terms and regulations followed in your particular company. Some employers offer paid belief mint leaves as a part of their package. If you wish, before you join the company as a permanent employee, you can negotiate for paid bereavement leaves.
However, it is to be noted that most employers only provide unpaid brief month leaves because there is no federal law that requires employers to give paid ones.
A lot of organizations also have paid versions of other leaves, such as sick leave, vacation leaves, and other personal leaves. If the employee wishes, they can make use of this paid leave to revive back after a period of grief.
Hope you found this article helpful!