Back to work after 3 days following a bereavement? Employers, Pay Attention!!

Dispute Resolution

Hospitality - 2 minutes read

Facebook has recently increased its bereavement leave allowance for its staff. Their employees can now take up to 20 days paid leave to grieve and mourn the death of an immediate family member.

Is this too long?

Or is this long enough?

The BBC articles journey’s through a number of real life stories of people who have been through the hard journey of bereavement.


One account concerns a Mr Andrews of IBM whose son died of myocarditis. He recounts how when “you’re paralysed by grief and it’s all your mind can absorb, the last thing you care about is work.” He went back to work after a fortnight of his loss and admits that this was not a productive course of action.


On the other hand, Ms Chan, a social worker and family therapist is of the view that 3 days of compassionate leave is sufficient.

This is a lot shorter than the 20 days proposed by Facebook, and Ms Chan states that this is ‘adequate when the circumstances are not overly traumatic’. What circumstances of loss of an immediate member of the family qualify as ‘not over traumatic’ are yet to be unraveled.


Peter Wilison (HR boss for 33 years) argues that 20 days bereavement would be excessive if it became law. 

Seeming to look at things from a business and production point of view, he states that twenty days amounts to nearly 10% of the working year which would “have a knock on effect which could make companies uncompetitive.”


Whatever your view on the subject matter is, my advice would be that firms should have a compassionate and understanding approach to this subject. 

Such things will give their staff and the public an insight into the firms culture and ethics.

We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and aging parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss,' Ms Sandberg posted on Facebook.
She added that companies that stand by the people who work for them do the right thing and 'improve their bottom line by increasing the loyalty and performance of their workforce'.