What is bereavement leave?

Bereavement leave provides employees with time away from work so they have time to cope with a death without the additional stressors of their jobs. In most jurisdictions across Canada, employment legislation provides bereavement leave for employees. The length of this leave and whether it is paid or unpaid varies by jurisdiction. Most jurisdictions provide for somewhere between three and five days off, but some leaves may require more. Employment standards also set the terms for how employees can use the leave. Most legislation provides the time to deal with grief, attend a funeral or memorial service, and handle estate matters. The bereavement leave also defines to whom it applies. In general, most bereavement leaves are only applicable for the loss of immediate family members: a parent or guardian, child, spouse, sibling, or grandparent, usually including those related by birth, by marriage, or by law, such as foster parents or children.

If you are unsure when your organization last reviewed its bereavement policies, Citation Canada, formerly HRdownloads, has you covered! Check out our blogpost, Why It’s Time to Refresh Your Bereavement Leave Policy, for insights from our HR experts. They’re designed to help you determine if it’s time to review your organization’s policies. Or Download our free Protected Leave Guide, which will give you an overview of the steps you can take when an employee requests a protected leave.

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