Compensation & PerksPerks

Bereavement Leave: What is It and How to Apply?

Going back to work after losing a loved one is never simple, nor is losing a loved one. However, many businesses provide their workers time off for bereavement, a period of intense sorrow and sadness. When a loved one passes away, an employee may take paid time off from work for various reasons, such as making funeral preparations, attending a funeral, showing support for their family at a wake or memorial service, and grieving. Offering bereavement leave is not only the kind thing to do but also the wise thing to do. Consider this: You’re not exactly feeling productive when you’re grieving; you find yourself unable to accomplish many things, notably your job. To move past the loss and heal, you need time. 

People may be unable to handle their work obligations and other professional commitments during this incredibly trying time after losing a family member. Many businesses know this and have rules permitting their staff to take time off from the office. You can have time to grieve, plan funerals, and take care of other pressing matters by taking bereavement leave. 

This article explains bereavement leave, when to apply for it, how to request it, and whether it can be compensated.

What is Bereavement Leave?

An employee may be given a short period of work for bereavement after a friend or relative passes away. It is granted separately from other scheduled breaks and typically consists of three days, though many employers tolerate a range of vacation times. Severe illness or the death of a family member or acquaintance are the typical triggers for this form of absence, typically reimbursed. Employers are not legally required to adopt a bereavement leave policy under Indian employment and labour regulations. As a result, the decision of whether to grant bereavement leave rests with the employer.  In India, bereavement leave can be either compensated or unpaid. 

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Latest Facts 

  • Only the second nation in the world, New Zealand’s parliament, has passed laws granting women and their partners the right to paid leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth. The Parliament unanimously approved the bereavement allowance.

Significance of Offering Bereavement Leave

Employers are aware of the need to demonstrate empathy and care for their employees’ emotional well-being during a loss; employers provide bereavement leave. A worker who has lately lost a parent or other close family is likely to be in too much pain to handle job obligations right away. Then, allowing them to take the necessary time off to process their sorrow and come to terms with their loss is frequently the proper thing to do rather than adding to their stress by expecting them to keep working under the circumstances. 

By adopting a sympathetic and enlightened attitude, employers can contribute to developing a supportive work environment where their employees feel appreciated and valued. In the end, this can help the business retain and attract personnel, maintain its competitiveness in the market, and realize long-term commercial success. An employee needs time off from work when a loved one passes away. An employee grieving the loss of a family member or friend needs support and aid from their employer, regardless of their position within the organisation. An employer’s and employee’s efforts to lessen the burden of work obligations while grieving and making arrangements to honour a bereavement leave policy can aid the departed.

Why is Bereavement Leave Important?

Bereavement vacation is crucial because it enables employees to take the following actions: 

  • Process sorrow both mentally and physically 
  • Inquire with relatives and friends about the passing of a loved one. 
  • Make arrangements for a loved one’s last resting place through a funeral home or cremation organisation. 
  • Traveling for wakes, funerals, and memorial services 
  • Complete financial and legal records about a loved one’s will 
  • Organize the inheritance and other assets of the deceased 
  • Message life insurance companies 
  • Spend time with your family (or relatives of the deceased in the case of a close friend)

How to Apply for Bereavement Leave?

The grieving worker must send a formal bereavement leave letter to their employer outlining why and how long they will require a leave of absence. The process of requesting bereavement leave is also relatively straightforward. All you have to do is adhere to these instructions:

1. Inform your superiors/coworkers as soon as possible

Make sure you notify your office as soon as it is practical because bereavement leaves cannot be arranged like other leaves. You will gain additional time by doing this before you are in the proper frame of mind to submit a request for death leave. Additionally, it will update your coworkers and give them a head start on handling the workload.

2. Create a formal application for bereavement leave 

The next step is to write a bereavement leave letter to your management after verbally informing everyone in your office. The official method of requesting a long-term leave is submitting a written leave application. Do not forget to tell everyone who needs to know about your absence and the plan of action, if you have one.

3. Describe how long your absence will last. 

The start date and finish date for your leave period are other critical components of a bereavement leave letter. Even though after experiencing something as horrific as this, most individuals wouldn’t know when they could return to work, you must include a probable return date in your letter.

4. Review and Send

In such difficult circumstances, making a mistake is simple and practically inevitable. Therefore, before submitting a bereavement leave for approval, be sure the material is correct. If there are any inconsistencies or grammatical flaws in your application, you can use language checkers like Grammarly or reread it a few times to modify and eliminate the text.

Format for Bereavement Leave

A bereavement leave letter follows a format that is very common in business letters. These letters can be brief, direct, and concise; however, drafting one can feel challenging at the moment. A bereavement letter needs only contain a few items, specifically: 

  • Everyone who has been identified as a recipient or in the CC 
  • An overview of your circumstances 
  • The time frame in which you will require time off 
  • Requesting time off for a funeral 
  • Contact information and other crucial details that your coworkers could need in your absence

Examples of Bereavement Leave


Hello, Mr Saha

I regret to inform you that my father tragically and unexpectedly passed away today. I sincerely ask that you provide me with 5 days of paid leave and 3 days of unpaid leave starting today in light of these conditions. 

I’m leaving for home today, 9 April 2021, and won’t return until Monday, 17 April 2021, when the funeral and other arrangements will occur. Without a doubt, I’ll be back at work on 18 April 2021. As I will need this time to take care of my family, I would appreciate your compassion in this situation. 

Please send me a message on my phone if you need anything at all. Additionally, you can call me at (000) 20XX XXXX.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Puja Bali

(Social media manager)


Dear Lara,

You are probably already aware that my mum passed away yesterday. The nine years she has lived with my family have had an unfathomable effect on everyone in the home.

We will fly my mother’s body back to Maryland to be buried alongside my father per her desire. This fax is being sent to request a leave of absence for bereavement formally. In addition to the three days of paid leave my employer permits, I also wish to take an additional three days off without pay. I’ll need this time to fly out and prepare for the funeral, which will probably be on Sunday. I’ll be back the following Monday and at work the next Tuesday.

Ren Stoler and you may have already spoken. In my absence, she has consented to take up the Rainier project. My assistant is more than capable of handling any problems until my return, but my other unfinished jobs can wait until I return. 

I wish to express my gratitude to everyone for their assistance. My assistant has all of my contact information if you need to get in touch with me. 

Best wishes 

Rosalind Hathaway

Should You Apply for Bereavement Leave?

After a member of your immediate family passes away, like a grandparent, parent, in-law, guardian, sibling, kid, or spouse, you should request bereavement leave. Upon losing an aunt, uncle, cousin, or close friend, it might also be possible to take a leave of absence. After losing a family pet, several businesses also permit their staff to take a few days off. 

In rare circumstances, it could be feasible to apply in advance for bereavement leave if your loved one has been ill and death is impending. In other cases, if their passing comes as a surprise, you should immediately notify your boss or the human resources, division.


Many people are unaware of what bereavement leave is, and drafting a compassionate leave might be difficult. We hope you never need to apply for bereavement leave, but if you do, we hope this blog will contain all the information you need.


1. How long is bereavement leave?

Ans. Depending on your needs and employer’s leave policies, the length of a bereavement leave may vary. Furthermore, the days you can be off work can range from three paid leave days to 20 or more paid leave days. If your condition calls for it and your employer is amenable to a prolonged vacation, you might be able to take extra time off. Your employer will choose whether or not the additional time off is compensated. Some companies might consent to a lengthier leave of absence in exchange for a part-time, remote job.

2. How does bereavement work?

Ans. Since bereavement leave is not a legal right in India, different businesses are free to create their unique regulations. The bereavement leave policy may be located in your company’s website’s work/life section or the employee handbook. If there is no information, ask the human resources department for information about the company’s bereavement leave policy and the specifics of the policy. Typically, the following could be part of the policy:

  • The purpose of the company’s leave policy may be obvious, along with how it will help its workers. 
  • Who is eligible to use the leave? The policy may specify this information. For instance, some businesses might permit all active employees—including full-time, part-time, contract, and paid interns—to use the leave. 
  • Leave entitlement: The policy may specify the days you are allowed to miss work and whether the leave is compensated or unpaid. As an illustration, some businesses might permit up to 20 days of paid absence. 
  • The application process for leaving: According to business policy, you may be required to inform your manager or the human resources division about your plans for a bereavement leave as soon as possible.

3. Do you need any proof for bereavement leave?

Ans. Depending on your employer’s policies, you might need to provide documentation of bereavement before or after taking the leave. Some employers could want a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, obituary, or funeral announcement, or they might ask you to supply information about the deceased person, such as their name, date of birth, location of death, and relationship to you. We asked for confirmation of their death to confirm their passing and ensure you took the bereavement break for a good reason. The business can stop employees from abusing the bereavement leave policy by conducting such checks.

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