Do You Get Paid For Bereavement? 7 Essential Facts

In times of loss and bereavement, many individuals may wonder if they will receive any form of compensation from their employer. The question “Do you get paid for bereavement?” is a common concern for those facing such circumstances. In this article, we will explore the essential facts surrounding this topic, including company policies, legal requirements, and available leave options. We aim to provide you with the information you need during these difficult times to navigate the complexities of bereavement leave and compensation.

Fact 1: Understanding Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave, also known as compassionate leave, refers to the time off given to employees following the death of a loved one. It is a form of leave that allows individuals to grieve, make funeral arrangements, and attend to other matters related to their loss.

Each employer may have their own specific policies regarding bereavement leave. It is important to familiarize yourself with your company’s policy to understand whether you are eligible for paid or unpaid leave during such circumstances.

While there is no legal right to paid time off for bereavement, many employers choose to offer pay during this period as a gesture of support and understanding. However, it is not guaranteed, and it ultimately depends on your employer’s policies.

It is worth noting that there are exceptions for agricultural employees, and you can obtain more information by contacting the Acas helpline or referring to your employment contract.

Overall, the availability of paid bereavement leave varies from employer to employer, so it is crucial to understand your company’s specific policies in order to know whether you will be paid during your time off for bereavement.

Fact 2: Legal Provisions for Paid Bereavement Leave

State and federal laws on bereavement leave

Currently, there is no federal law in the United States that requires employers to offer paid bereavement leave. However, some states have implemented their own laws and regulations to address the issue. We will explore these state-specific provisions in detail.

Familiarizing yourself with state laws

It is essential to research and understand the laws in your state regarding bereavement leave. This knowledge will help you determine whether you are entitled to paid leave and the duration of such leave. It is important to note that while some states have implemented laws regarding paid bereavement leave, others may only provide unpaid leave or no specific provisions at all.

States with paid bereavement leave

Several states have implemented laws that require employers to provide paid bereavement leave. For example, in Oregon, employees may be entitled to up to two weeks of paid bereavement leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act. Similarly, in California, workers can use accrued sick leave to cover bereavement needs.

Other state provisions

In some states, the use of paid sick leave or other forms of paid time off may also be applicable to bereavement. This means that employees can use their accrued paid leave for bereavement purposes, although it may not be explicitly defined as paid bereavement leave under the law.

Employers’ discretion

While some states have specific legislation on paid bereavement leave, it is important to note that many employers choose to offer pay during bereavement as a discretionary policy. Employers may recognize the need for their employees to have time off and offer paid leave as a form of support during the grieving process.

Consulting with your employer

To determine if you are eligible for paid bereavement leave, it is recommended to consult your employer’s policies or speak with the human resources department. They will provide you with the necessary information on the specific provisions, requirements, and duration of paid bereavement leave, if applicable.

In conclusion, whether you receive paid bereavement leave depends on the laws and policies in your state and your employer’s discretion. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific provisions in your state and consult with your employer to understand your entitlement to paid leave during a bereavement period.

Fact 3: Paid Time Off (PTO) and Bereavement

Using paid time off for bereavement

In some cases, employees may be allowed to use their accrued paid time off (PTO) to cover their absence during bereavement. This means that if you have PTO available, you can utilize it to take time off to grieve and make necessary arrangements. It provides you with the flexibility to allocate your PTO based on your personal needs and priorities during this challenging time.

Impact on salary and benefits

Using PTO for bereavement may impact your salary and benefits. When you use your accrued PTO, it’s important to understand that you are essentially taking unpaid time off from work. This means that your paycheck for that period may be reduced, as you will not receive your regular salary. Additionally, using PTO for bereavement may affect other employment-related benefits such as your retirement contributions or health insurance coverage. It’s advisable to consult your HR department or employee handbook to understand the specific policies of your organization regarding the impact of PTO on salary and benefits.

Overall, utilizing paid time off for bereavement gives employees the opportunity to take care of their emotional well-being and attend to important matters without worrying about losing income. However, it’s essential to consider the potential impact on salary and benefits before making a decision.

Fact 4: Unpaid Bereavement Leave

In situations where paid bereavement leave is not available or exhausted, employees may need to take unpaid leave. This may raise questions about the implications of taking unpaid leave and what options are available in such circumstances.

One option that can provide support during bereavement is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for qualifying reasons, including the loss of a family member.

Taking unpaid bereavement leave may have financial implications, as you won’t receive your regular pay during that time. It’s important to check with your employer or HR department to understand your company’s policies on unpaid leave and any potential benefits or support available to you.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more information on bereavement leave and employee rights, you can visit the official website of the U. S. Department of Labor. They provide detailed information on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, you can reach out to the Acas helpline for assistance and clarification on your specific situation.

Fact 5: Company-specific Bereavement Policies

Variations in bereavement policies

Different companies may have variations in their bereavement policies. Some organizations may offer more generous leave benefits, while others may have stricter limitations. It’s important for employees to familiarize themselves with their company’s specific policies regarding bereavement, as this will help them understand the benefits and limitations associated with taking leave during such difficult times.

Communicating with your employer

It is crucial to communicate with your employer regarding the bereavement policy and its specifics. By doing so, employees can gain a clearer understanding of what their company offers in terms of bereavement leave. This communication helps in creating a supportive and understanding work environment, as employers get to know their employees’ needs and can offer appropriate assistance during this difficult time.

Additionally, discussing one’s needs with the employer can help employees navigate bereavement leave more effectively. This open communication allows for the possibility of extending leave beyond what is initially offered or exploring other options such as remote work or flexible scheduling to help ease the transition back into work.

Remember, every company’s bereavement policy may differ, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your specific company’s policies and have open communication with your employer.

Fact 6: Supportive Resources during Bereavement

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are valuable resources that can provide counseling and support services to employees during difficult times, such as bereavement. These programs aim to assist individuals in managing their emotions, finding coping mechanisms, and navigating through the grieving process. EAPs often offer confidential counseling sessions with trained professionals who can help employees deal with their grief and provide guidance on how to resume work responsibilities during this challenging time. Additionally, EAPs may offer resources such as support groups, online forums, and educational materials to further aid employees in coping with bereavement.

External support organizations

In addition to EAPs, there are numerous external organizations that offer support and resources to individuals experiencing bereavement. These organizations specialize in providing assistance and guidance to those grieving the loss of a loved one. They may offer grief counseling, therapy services, online support communities, and helpline services. These external support organizations can provide individuals with a safe and understanding environment to express their emotions, share their experiences, and seek guidance from trained professionals who specialize in grief counseling. It is important to research and reach out to these organizations to access their services and find the support needed during this challenging time.

Overall, utilizing supportive resources such as EAPs and external organizations can be immensely beneficial for individuals navigating the grieving process after experiencing a bereavement. These resources can provide the necessary guidance, counseling, and support to help individuals cope with their emotions, return to work, and ultimately heal from their loss.

Fact 7: Planning Ahead and Self-Care during Bereavement

Planning ahead for potential loss is a difficult but crucial step to take. By having certain arrangements in place, you can ease the burden during such times of bereavement. It is important to consider the following:

  1. Arranging Financial Matters: Ensuring that your loved ones are financially supported in the event of your passing is essential. This includes having life insurance policies, preparing a will, and considering estate planning options.

  2. Funeral and Memorial Arrangements: One aspect of planning ahead is making arrangements for your funeral or memorial service. This can include decisions about burial or cremation, choosing a cemetery or funeral home, and specifying your wishes regarding the ceremony and final resting place.

  3. Informing Loved Ones: It is helpful to communicate your wishes with your loved ones, so that they are aware of your preferences in the event of your passing. This can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty during an already difficult time.

Self-care is equally important during the grieving process. Here are some tips and suggestions for prioritizing your mental and emotional well-being:

  1. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can provide emotional support and understanding during this challenging time. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help, such as therapists or counselors, if needed.

  2. Take Time for Yourself: Allow yourself to grieve and process your emotions. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and solace, whether it’s spending time in nature, practicing meditation or mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy.

  3. Prioritize Rest and Nutrition: Grief can have physical effects on the body, so it’s important to prioritize rest and ensure you are eating well. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and stay hydrated. Taking care of your physical health can help support your emotional well-being.

  4. Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Everyone copes with grief differently, so find healthy coping mechanisms that work for you. This could include journaling, exercising, seeking creative outlets, or participating in activities that bring you comfort and peace.

By planning ahead and practicing self-care during bereavement, you can navigate the grieving process with more ease and resilience. Remember to be patient with yourself and seek the support you need during this difficult time.


In conclusion, the availability of paid leave for bereavement varies depending on company policies, state laws, and the utilization of accrued paid time off (PTO). While some employers offer paid bereavement leave for a few days, others may provide unpaid time off. It is important to communicate with your employer, understand your rights, and plan ahead to effectively navigate bereavement. Seeking support and prioritizing self-care during this challenging time is crucial.

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]