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  • Caroline Hammond

What employers can do to help employees who are bereaved

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Having a compassionate employer at a time when you are experiencing the loss of someone close to you, can make an enormous difference.

Grieving can be be one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. Small day to day things can so easily trigger memories that make you painfully aware of the person who is no longer with you. You can burst into tears over the tiniest things and the pain can feel unbearable. What makes it especially difficult is that many people don't know what to say to someone who is grieving, so it becomes isolating.

Too many workplaces are unable to support their employees with grief, especially as everyone is different and experiences grief in their own way. What's hard for many employers to understand is that It takes as long as it needs to, and there is no set time for grief.

Recent statistics quoted by Hospice UK show just how difficult working with grief can be for employees.

  • 44% of people don’t believe the bereavement leave offered by their company was sufficient.

  • 50% of people have used holiday for bereavement leave.

  • 39% of people have lied about needing time off due to discomfort around talking about bereavement in the workplace.

It wont be easy to address this problem, but there are some excellent resources available to help employers. Hospice UK now offer employers a range of programmes, including the compassionate employers program and the well being support programme. If you want to improve your work place to support people who have experienced a bereavement, these programmes are worth exploring, as grief will not just go away. What we do know is that grief and bereavement becomes easier to live with, when you are surrounded by supportive people who are not afraid to talk to you about how you are feeling.

Dying Matters also provides a range of useful resources, including 'Talking Points' to help people understand what others are actually saying and avoiding the temptation to respond or judge without having listened.

For more information about bereavement support services, click here

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