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Questions about Bereavement Leave Law

Losing a close friend or family member can take a huge toll on an employee’s mental health. In a case like this, asking for time off work is only natural. Yet, conditions for taking bereavement leave are highly dependent on company policies and not all employees are entitled to paid bereavement leave. If you have legal questions on bereavement leave, direct those to Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer who can answer you both quickly and clearly. A few top questions answered by the Experts on bereavement leave are listed below.

Is it mandatory to grant bereavement leave by law?

Bereavement leave is based on an agreement between an organization and its employee as stated by the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you do not need to be paid for time off work, which includes attending a funeral. In addition to this, the Department of Labor website says that the "FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.” This extends to allowing employees to take leave to care for a close relative who is suffering from a serious medical problem, for the birth and care of a newborn baby, and for when the employee has a serious health problem and cannot go to work. So, unless your employment contract or company policy specifies that you are entitled to bereavement leave, it is not a benefit granted by law.

My grandmother passed away recently. I was told that I was entitled to three days of bereavement leave but would this have included holidays and weekends as well?

Bereavement leave is generally entirely up to an organization’s individual corporate policy. It is not a mandatory requirement under Federal or State law. Employers can choose to grant the leave in a way that suits the organization’s interests best. As long as the policy regarding bereavement leave does not discriminate against any employee on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, disability, FMLA or worker’s compensation; employers can formulate it any way they wish to. Therefore, without completely studying your company policy, it is difficult to say what your employer could do in this case. Also, you may or may not be aware of how these issues have been treated in the past by your employer. Anyway, from a legal point of view, your organization is only bound to follow what has been stated in their corporate policy and the way that policy has been applied in the past. If you need Expert legal insights on your own rights, you can ask an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer to review your company policy and provide Expert opinion on your options and rights.

If my ex-wife (and mother to my children) were to pass away, would I be entitled to funeral leave of a paid nature?

Bereavement leave depends on the policy of your organization and is not a mandatory requirement under Federal or State law. If you belong to a union or have an employment contract, or an employee handbook you can refer to, check if they specify whether you are entitled to bereavement leave and if it would classify as paid or unpaid time off.

My legal guardian died recently and my organization refused my request for bereavement leave as they felt that “legal guardian” didn’t amount to the same thing as “parent”. I was completely devastated as this is the only “parent” I have ever known. I have tried to challenge the company policy and had no luck. Should I continue to do so?

It is not mandatory for employers to give employees bereavement leave under Federal Law. Only an employer can decide whether or not to give an employee bereavement leave and what the conditions of the leave are meant to be. This means that your company policy is all you can depend on.

If an immediate family member passes away, can an employer refuse to give paid bereavement leave?

Unless the employer has an employment contract or corporate policy that allows employees to take bereavement leave, the employer is not required by law to pay an employee for this leave of absence.

Handling the loss of a loved one is tough. But not knowing your company’s policies on bereavement leave can make matters worse. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer have the knowledge and the expertise to answer all your queries. Get them answered now at the one of most reasonable rates available so you are well prepared to handle a situation like this, should the need arise.
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