4 Things to Know About Bereavement Leave in USA

Like anyone who has gone through such a traumatic experience will tell you, losing a loved one is an extremely difficult time to go through. The pain you go through at the time of the demise of an immediate family member or a loved one you were close to can take a toll on you and more often than not, people need some space and time to grieve and collect themselves together after the huge loss they have incurred.

Bereavement Leave in the State of USA

Bereavement Leave in the State of USA is given to an employee when he or she has gone through the death of an immediate family member and needs to take some time away from work to plan or attend funeral services or grieve the loss of the individual. This leave can either be paid or unpaid but is generally for a short period of time, usually a maximum of three days.

#1 Bereavement Leave in the State of USA & Federal Law

In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act by the US Department of Labor has not put forth any federal law that would require employers to give their employees either of paid or unpaid leave. As such, it is up to the employer if he or she wishes to give bereavement leave or not. Regardless, these matters should subsequently be discussed between the employee and the employer.

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The one state in the US which does have a bereavement leave policy is the state of Oregon. Going into effect on January 1st, 2014, the policy states that companies which have over 25 employees are required to give bereavement leave of up to two weeks to employees who have worked at least 25 hours per week for a minimum of 180 days upon the death of a close relative. This leave can be taken anytime within 60 days of the death of the loved one.

#2 Bereavement Leave: The Right Of An Employee

A research conducted by the National Council for Palliative Care has reported that a third of all employees having suffered the loss of a loved one in the past five years felt that their employer had not shown compassion to them by pressurizing them into work way too soon after their loss even before they were done grieving or coming to terms. Not giving employees their space and adequate time and instead forcing them into work is not only detrimental to the health of the employees, but it is also counterproductive since the individual will obviously not be working at full capacity in that condition.

#3 When you should apply for Bereavement leave

As mentioned before, the bereavement leave policy in Oregon states that the leave can be anywhere up to two weeks. The length of the leave may vary according to each employer and employee. Individuals who need to plan for funeral services and take care of other post-death arrangements would need more time as opposed to individuals who just have to attend the service. From a humane standpoint, individuals should take at least three to five days to at least come to terms with reality and take some recovery time for themselves.

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=> You may like to read: Bereavement Leave in New Jersey

#4 Which Companies Provide Bereavement Leave in the State of USA?

Most of the big companies in the industry are caring towards their employees and want the best for them which is why many of them provide paid bereavement leave for considerable lengths of time. For example, Facebook gives up to 20 days of bereavement leave to its employees. Twitter and Cisco offer unlimited vacation days depending on the situation for employees to take care of a sick family member or grieve for one who has passed away.


Lora Turner

Lora Turner is an Experienced HR professional worked with the large organizations and holding 15 years of experience dealing with employee benefits. She holds expertise in simplifying the leave for the employee benefits. Contact us at: [email protected]

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