It is advisable to determine what an employer's bereavement and compassionate leave policies are and to confirm that they are in compliance with any germane local laws.
Given the emotional nature of such occasions, most organizations are understanding enough to grant additional non-paid time off to the employee, as and when the need arises. In the United States, while there is no law that grants bereavement leave to individuals, the U.S. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family-related matters. The U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act specifies no policies governing bereavement, other than to note that bereavement leave is a matter of employee-employer negotiation. Policies also differ from state to state, as well as organization to organization. For example, the owner or manager of a small business, which might not have its leave policies chiseled in stone, would have the discretion to determine how much bereavement leave to grant to the employee.
In addition, most employers require employees to be a regular full-time employee with a minimum period of continuous employment to qualify for bereavement leave. In Canada, for example, to be eligible for paid bereavement leave, an employee must have completed a 3-month period of continuous employment. As for part-time employees, this is subject to the employer's policies. Some organizations may also require a proof of death.
While eligibility, in terms of whose death entitles an employee to bereavement or compassionate leave, is usually strictly circumscribed, in smaller or more informal organizations it may be possible to be granted unpaid leave upon the death of friends, business associates, etc., on a case-by-case basis.
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