To think that an uncle IS a close relative?

(87 Posts)
Watto1 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:52:00

My uncle sadly passed away a few days ago. His funeral is on Thursday next week. My boss says that I can't have compassionate leave to go to his funeral as compassionate leave is 'for close relatives only.'

I will be going regardless, using my annual leave rather than compassionate leave, but AIBU to think that an uncle should be considered a close relative?

TylerHopkins Fri 30-Aug-13 19:54:37

You could be closer to your uncle than you are to your father. This whole thing pisses me off. You should be allocated a number of 'compassionate' days and who you take them off for is your business.

Ididabravebravething Fri 30-Aug-13 19:55:14

course it is close relative.

grrr to your employers

(sorry for your loss btw)

LindaMcCartneySausage Fri 30-Aug-13 19:55:57

Im sorry for your loss.

YANBU if you were close to him and you are showing your support for your cousins and his wife. You obviously are. Regardless of labels attached to familial relationships, your boss should understand your wish to attend a funeral for whoever matters to you and give you compassionate leave. No one attends funerals for fun.

MsVestibule Fri 30-Aug-13 19:56:41

Sorry, but no, if I was an employer, I don't think I'd give compassionate leave for an uncle either. As a general rule, it would be for grandparents, parents and siblings only.

I'm sorry for your loss though flowers.

flossy101 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:56:41

Sorry for your loss. I agree uncle is a close relative.

CailinDana Fri 30-Aug-13 19:56:45

Yanbu. My sister couldn't go to her good friend's funeral because of heartless rules like this. Why anyone would expect loyalty from employees who are treated like this is beyond me.

Sorry that you lost your uncle.

An uncle IS a close relative. Your boss, on the other hand, is an arsehole.

Mind you, I'd take compassionate leave for my budgies. grin

Ididabravebravething Fri 30-Aug-13 19:57:52

ps. yes, GO btw. You would only regret it if you didnt

AnyFucker Fri 30-Aug-13 19:58:05

I am sorry for your loss

but I think YABU

Employers have to draw the line somewhere and I think we all have to accept that the minority of piss takers have spoiled it for the rest of us

I think your employers would be BU is they didn't allow your AL though

nancerama Fri 30-Aug-13 20:02:51

I'm sorry for your loss.

Usually what constitutes a close relative is laid out in your contract. Some bosses do everything by the book, others are a bit more flexible. I think many of these contractural rules are a throwback to the days when people came from bigger families.

MsVestibule Fri 30-Aug-13 20:03:11

CailinDana why wasn't your sister allowed to take annual leave? Whilst I don't think a manager should have to give compassionate leave, they should be able to take AL.

Watto1 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:03:49

He will allow AL, fortunately. To be fair to him, it's HR policy, rather than him personally not allowing the compassionate leave. Still annoying though. However, as other posters have said, I suppose a line has to be drawn somewhere. Thank you for your condolences everyone.thanks

motownmover Fri 30-Aug-13 20:07:18

A good compassionate leave policy should allow HR or head of Dept discretion.

I've given Comp leave when someone has lost their pet and I think it was right to do so.

Bowlersarm Fri 30-Aug-13 20:10:01

An uncle is a close enough relative to want to go to his funeral.

TylerHopkins Fri 30-Aug-13 20:10:05

I want to work for mowtownmover

iago Fri 30-Aug-13 20:16:08

I once taught at a school where a girl in my tutor group was off EVERY Friday to attend a funeral - travelling community where funerals are very important, but 30 plus in a year?? So, I can understand why a business would restrict 'close relatives' to grandparents, parents, offspring (God forbid) and siblings. There could be dozens of uncles and aunts and cousins. So I think you should be prepared to take a day's leave if you want to go to the funeral.

beginnings Fri 30-Aug-13 20:16:49

No, that's his interpretation of the policy. I've never heard of a compassionate leave policy that's so stringent. Discretion can certainly be applied.

I'm sorry for your loss.

ApocalypseThen Fri 30-Aug-13 20:17:03

Of course an uncle is a close relative - madness to suggest otherwise.

Watto1 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:18:16

I am prepared to take AL and will be doing so.

motownmover Fri 30-Aug-13 20:18:22

Sorry beginnings I have and have changed a few in my time to be wider in interpretation.

Sorry for your loss OP.

pootlebug Fri 30-Aug-13 20:18:54

In the large multinational I used to work for, an Uncle wasn't classed a 'close relative' either

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Fri 30-Aug-13 20:20:34

Maybe to you, but not to many. And it could get out of hand...I have 12 uncles and aunts, and many cousins. Presumably the cousins would have to count as close family too if their parents do?

froken Fri 30-Aug-13 20:21:34

Yanbu your are genetically related as much to an uncle as you are to a grandparent (25%)

I'm sorry for your loss, stupid boss sad

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 30-Aug-13 20:21:36

Ours is spouses, children, siblings and parents. Standard amongst lots of employers. Annual leave can be requested for any others and granted at short notice. HR follow the handbook so as to treat all employees the same and fairly.

hermioneweasley Fri 30-Aug-13 20:22:55

This is extremely common approach. Every employer I have worked for has only given compassionate leave for immediate family. I am sorry for your loss, but you woukdn't believe how many uncles etc people can have. This is what annual leave is for.

Blissx Fri 30-Aug-13 20:24:18

HappyMumOfOne is absolutely correct. Sorry for your loss OP

trinity0097 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:24:38

I would say that time off to grieve should be restricted to close family only, especially as they are the ones who generally you havr to organisr things for. However I don't think that any employer should stop someone from attending a funeral if they want to. Someone at my work had the day off today for a funeral, the person who organises leave didn't ask who the funeral was for. She accepted that he wanted to go and let him have the day off to do so.

raisah Fri 30-Aug-13 20:25:04

Yes my uncles are my close relatives as I share 50% of my DNA with them just as I do with my mum. It is silly that people don't regard that uncles & aunts are close relations.

I am sorry for your loss and I hope that you get through the funeral and remember the good times that you had together.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Fri 30-Aug-13 20:26:48

you don't share 50% of your dna with your uncles.

hermioneweasley Fri 30-Aug-13 20:27:19

I don't understand why employers are expected to fund every loss through compassionate leave. Annual leave is for waiting in for parcels, going to the dentist, taking kids to appointments and yes, sadly, for funerals. If you have enough time after that to go on a beach holiday then that's great, but it's not for your employer to give paid leave for every need for time off.

onedev Fri 30-Aug-13 20:28:30

Sorry for your loss Op but I agree with AnyFucker. As with most things, the minority has spoilt it for the majority & a line has to be drawn somewhere.

I work for a FTSE 20 company & you'd need to take annual leave for anything other than spouse, parent, sibling or child.

flowery Fri 30-Aug-13 20:29:43

Yes as Hermione says, immediate family is usual, which would normally be spouse, siblings, parents, off spring.

Discretion is great in many areas of HR and I'm a big fan of it, and try to preserve it as far as possible.

But the trouble is if you give one person compassionate leave for an uncle, it's difficult to refuse the exact same request for someone else. It's fairly black and white, which other areas of time off work are not always, and in those instances it's easier to exercise discretion without it becoming a problem.

MrsKoala Fri 30-Aug-13 20:30:29

i hate these rules, at my last work it was a day off for funeral of grandparent, 3 days for parent and 5 days for a child or spouse. I always thought on what fucking planet would i be returning to work a week after my child had died! No time off for PILs either so people couldn't support their partners. A/L had to be 2 weeks notice and was often declined as we were constantly short staffed (i wonder why? confused ). Sickness rules were also just as 'compassionate'.

I'm sorry for your loss OP.

oneofthosedays Fri 30-Aug-13 20:34:04

My employer was the same - umm'd and ahh'd and took months to decide whether I could take compassionate leave or had to class it as annual leave after my 19 yo neice died very suddenly and I needed time to help my sister with the younger kids whilst her life hung in the balance, and then after that to attend the funeral. Neices, nephews, aunts and uncles aren't strictly classed as close relatives in my work's policy but they did authorise it in the end. Was just one more thing I could have done without having to think about.

PharaohHound Fri 30-Aug-13 20:37:57

you don't share 50% of your dna with your uncles.

technically, you could, the average is 25% with extremes of 0% and 50%.

It's all down to how genes are shuffled, and how much of the same genes siblings share, ie your sister might have all of the same genes that you got from your parents, or she might have none, but it averages at around 50%. Her son would share with you exactly half of what she shared with you.

Mintyy Fri 30-Aug-13 20:39:01

I don't think you need compassionate leave to go to the funeral of an uncle but you would be quite within your rights to complain about not being permitted to take annual leave to cover it.

When they were all alive I had five uncles and one aunt, plus all their spouses. So twelve "close" relatives in your terms. What if (heaven forfend) they had all died in the same year?

onedev Fri 30-Aug-13 20:42:36

Sorry for your situation Oneof but surely you didn't expect your employer to give you carte blanche in that situation?

VerySmallSqueak Fri 30-Aug-13 20:44:27

I am so sorry that you have lost someone who you felt so much for.

Although your Uncle was clearly close to you,and you to him,I am afraid that I would expect that most employers would not class him as close enough for the purposes of compassionate leave.

I think compassionate leave is discretionary (unless stated in your contract).
However you should be able to take annual leave,or ask if you could take unpaid leave .

StanleyLambchop Fri 30-Aug-13 20:45:57

My BIL was not allowed compassionate leave for my dad- his FIL. Even though he was supporting his wife through losing her father. Bastards! I agree they should allow so many days compassionate, then leave it up to the individual who they use it for.

froken Fri 30-Aug-13 20:50:36

My dp was denied annual leave to travel to tge UK for my grandpa's funeral ( which is on Monday) even though my grandpa was like a father to me, so me and baby ds will go alone even though I'm terrified of flying.

I'd give all my annual leave for a decade if dp could come with us sad

elliejjtiny Fri 30-Aug-13 20:51:58

Sorry for your loss OP. DH had to take AL for his gran's funeral and our miscarried baby's funeral. When DS4 was in NICU, MIL got 8 days special leave on full pay and DH just got 10 days statutory paternity leave.

MrsGaryKielhofner Fri 30-Aug-13 20:55:44

A friend had compassionate from a local authority to go to another friend's mother's next door neughbour's funeral. I am surprised she even had the cheek to ask!

That aside compassionate leave policies should be flexible enough to include family likes uncles if you were very close.

MrsGaryKielhofner Fri 30-Aug-13 20:56:27


quietbatperson Fri 30-Aug-13 20:58:07

My employer allows discretion on this depending on how close you actually are to the person, as an uncle or foster parent could be closer than a parent. FWIW a colleague of mine was given 2 weeks off when his son drowned and they turned a blind eye to the further 3 months he had off as sick leave and phased his return after that.

SeaSickSal Fri 30-Aug-13 21:04:27

Sorry for your loss. Go. I think your boss would have a hard time getting it through a disciplinary.

It's shit.

My old employer (head teacher) only counted parents, spouses and children as close. A friend of mine, who was brought up by her grandmother, was made to take unpaid leave because "those are the rules and I won't bend them". Twat.

firesidechat Fri 30-Aug-13 21:07:17

Like others on here I would think that compassionate leave is for spouse, child, siblings and parents. Uncles would come into the category of extended family. It's not as if he is saying you can't go, just that you need to take leave for it. Seems reasonable to me.

CailinDana Fri 30-Aug-13 21:09:50

Msvestibule - she couldn't take AL as it was too short notice. Needless to say the company had a massive staff turnover and my sister quit a few months later.

comingalongnicely Fri 30-Aug-13 21:10:17

our policy is Compassionate Leave for "direct" relatives, e.g. parents, kids and siblings. Anything else you take either Annual or Unpaid, if work can accommodate it. Work isn't obliged to give leave for non direct relatives, but they do try.
It's fair enough, some people seem to have hundreds of relatives...

firesidechat Fri 30-Aug-13 21:10:18

Sorry, I've just realised that my post sounded a bit harsh.

I'm sorry that you have your uncle has died and wish you well for the funeral.

HungryHorace Fri 30-Aug-13 21:13:31

I'm going to my uncle's (by marriage) funeral next Thursday too. If I hadn't been on mat leave I'd have had to take annual leave as my firm's policy is like many others here regarding 'close relatives'.

Sorry for your loss. thanks

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 30-Aug-13 21:16:07

Policies have to be tight because people take the piss.

One girl where I used to work was forever wanting time off for various relations funerals. It was clearly a piss take, but no-one could prove it.

OP I'm sorry for your loss.

chanie44 Fri 30-Aug-13 21:19:15

I manage compassionate leave requests at work and I probably wouldn't grant compassionate leave for an uncle unless there were special circumstances. I would grant annual leave or unpaid leave.

AnyFucker Fri 30-Aug-13 21:23:50

One of the people I was the closest to ever in my life died recently.

I thought more of this person than my own parents

She was my husbands aunt

I didn't expect to get CL for her funeral, I took AL of course

i think it would and should depend on how your family is "set up".

i would hate that! my uncle is my immediate family to me. we're only 6 years apart, grew up in the same house, and as i dont know my dad or have siblings... i have grown up with my uncle being my uncle, dad and brother all rolled into one. i dont have a big family (5 members not incuding dh) so not being able to go to my uncles funeral would be awful sad

sorry for your loss op

ILikeBirds Fri 30-Aug-13 21:29:55

YABU to think an uncle should be counted as a close relative, it's fairly typical for it to be parents/siblings/children only.

I couldn't get compassionate leave for a grandparent.

I think as long as there are other options, e.g. annual leave, making time up, unpaid leave to attend a funeral it's ok.

HeffalumpTheFlump Fri 30-Aug-13 22:09:37

Yanbu, my dh has just had to get his union involved to get time off for his grandads funeral today. His employers are complete arseholes in many different ways, but this was a new low. Sorry for your loss.

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 30-Aug-13 22:33:59

Sorry for you loss.

I think the problem with uncles and aunts is that people can have a lot of them, especially if you include partners, which people often do. I have 9 aunts/uncles, and some people have a lot more. I do think "close" is probably the wrong word to use, as this is subjective, and perhaps "imediate" is a better term to use.

On the other hand, you do share as much DNA with an aunt/uncle as you do with a grandparent, so if CL is allowed for those, I would wonder why an aunt/uncle wouldn't count.

Purple2012 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:41:35

I had to take al for my uncles funeral. I wasnt happy as a colleague went 'sick' when a pet died and the boss knew this. I was very close to this uncle and saw him regularly and he was a big part of my childhood and my adult life.

I do have other aunts and uncles that I haven't seen for years and wouldn't be bothered about their funerals. Sounds harsh but they are not nice.

WilsonFrickett Sat 31-Aug-13 00:38:35

After having DS I went back to work for one of 'those' banks pt 3 days a week. I won't say which one, but it's the one everyone would automatically think of wrt bad banks.

When I got the call to go and see my uncle as he was failing, it was 3pm. I walked out and called my boss on the way downstairs, she called me a contract taxi to get to the hospital.

He then stabilised, so much so that my mum went off on her holiday. Which meant I was the one to get the call 2 weeks later to go to the hospital to switch his life support off. It was a day off, I didn't have any cash on me so called a contract cab again. He died. When I went back in to work the next day I took a cheque to pay the cab (normal practice if you've used a contract cab for your own needs) and my boss's boss ripped it up. Then they gave me the day off for his funeral and sent flowers.

The thought of having to negotiate al in those circumstances makes me shudder tbh. Op is not bu.

FreshLeticia Sat 31-Aug-13 00:55:30

In the civil service it is immediate family, i.e. parents, gparents, children or siblings. of yourself or your spouse. My DH's DF died suddenly before we were married and even though DH and me had been together for years, I was not allowed CL.

MsJupiterJones Sat 31-Aug-13 01:01:33

I worked for a big entertainment company that used to send its employees to work/live around the country. While working hundreds of miles from 'home', my grandmother died. I was told CL did not extend beyond immediate family and she was not categorised as such.

I had to beg and reason for enough AL to go home and support my mum (an only child) in the aftermath and then again to attend her funeral. My grandparents were the only family I had beyond my mum & siblings and they helped bring me up, but I hated having to justify it by telling them all this. If you expect employees to relocate at the drop of a hat then surely a little generosity in that respect would not go amiss?

I left the company shortly after and got a much better job closer to home.

I do understand what others are saying about people taking the piss but also think that companies should always try to err on the generous side wrt CL.

Naoko Sat 31-Aug-13 01:03:03

In my DP's previous job, one of his colleagues got a phonecall at work to say his father had unexpectedly died. Their boss refused to let the colleague go home, saying he had to work out the day and he might give him tomorrow off if he finished enough work. Colleague walked out.

They tried to put him through a disciplinary procedure for walking out. It was only when the union asked if they were fucking joking when someone had an attack of common sense.

hermioneweasley Sat 31-Aug-13 08:26:38

The OP has been allowed to take AL so I don't see the problem.

flowery Sat 31-Aug-13 09:58:29

"my dh has just had to get his union involved to get time off for his grandads funeral today."

Yes I think trying to prevent someone going to a funeral is pretty outrageous. Even if the employer doesn't have a more-generous-than-usual paid compassionate leave policy,annual leave or unpaid leave ought to be possible.

This isn't going to be popular but i would always say to someone to get themselves signed off sick "with stress", if their employers are arseholes.

What good is anyone going to be in work when there is a funeral going on, that they have been denied leave for?

Unless you are a surgeon etc, most people can be covered for a day.

We should all be striving to create a work/life balance where ever possible and the attendance of funerals fits in with that.

mrsjay Sat 31-Aug-13 10:07:46

yanbu family should be family regardless and if you have had a death in your family and a funeral compasionate leave should be allowed,

A friend of mine was brought up partly by her auntie and I remember her telling me she had to take holidays when the aunt died instead of getting leave

BarbarianMum Sat 31-Aug-13 10:21:13

I'm sorry for your loss but struggling to understand why its a problem to be expected to take annual or unpaid leave to attend a funeral of a close but not immediate relative.

quoteunquote Sat 31-Aug-13 10:22:32

I run a company,

if someone wants time off to go to a funeral, they get time off to go to a funeral.

I find it far better to support people in anyway they feel the need to be supported,

I need happy enthusiastic content people, who care about the company, We very rarely have anyone leave, which apart from making my life easily , saves us huge costs,

Our policy is simple if someone wants time off, they get it,

No one has ever abused it , and I never have any fake sickies , which makes a massive difference to scheduling,

Going to a funeral is so important, it can be quite damaging to an individual not to go through the process, I would never want to be the person that caused someone to miss a vital opportunity.

HeffalumpTheFlump Sat 31-Aug-13 11:41:52

Flowery - they wouldn't even let him take it as unpaid al because there apparently wasn't enough notice. Some people just have no compassion.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 31-Aug-13 12:58:12

sorry for your loss sad

guess companies cant always grant compassionate leave as could have lots of uncles/aunts but normally only one set of parents/2 sets of gp's and few siblings

not sure how its works for step parents?

i was very close/fond of dh's uncle and my family gave me the day off for his funeral (bless them)

when it was my dh funeral two years later, i had compassionate leave, all my friends came as well, and many of their employers granted compassionate leave (im a nanny and had met many of them, and guess kinda more personal then working in an office) tho obv didnt expect it - one employer even took day off work and didnt make my friend deduct from her holiday - bless her

there was one mb who was on ml yet she still made my friend take a day off al/unpaid - yes i know my dh wasnt her family, and no one expects it, but surely if home so no need to get extra cover (unlike all other employers) why not give the day off for a funeral of a young man

anyway, sorry for woffle and sorry again for your loss x

Viking1 Sat 31-Aug-13 13:21:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sashh Sat 31-Aug-13 15:24:19

I had to take annual leave for my grandfather's funeral. I still resent it 20+ years later.

BettyandDon Sat 31-Aug-13 15:32:16

Yes it is entirely personal. My aunt for example was my closest relative by far except my parents.

I am amazed HR policies stipulate the relationship in that way. Not very compassionate is it?

Fwiw, my ex employer allowed time off for pet deaths. Although it also allowed us to bring dogs to work smile.

DeWe Sat 31-Aug-13 15:36:39

My df had 27 uncles and aunts, that's not counting their spouses. He was close to some, others he didn't see in years. There was one year 8 died over the course of about 6 months.

Namechangingnorma Sat 31-Aug-13 15:40:33

I believe any compassionate employer would give leave
For an uncle's funeral. As a manager I wouldnt think twice about giving it and everyone I have ever worked for would. Very suprised to hear of all the businesses that wouldnt, I have worked for 4 multi-billion pound businesses and all have been kind, caring and flexible in this respect.

ZeroTolerance Sat 31-Aug-13 18:04:15

Why do you begrudge losing a day of your annual leave?

I guess the reason they limit it to the stated family members is that most people have a maximum of 2 parents, 4 grandparents and a small number of siblings.

In large families, you can have a LOT of uncles/aunts/cousins.

Anyway, what's the big deal? You have annual leave precisely so you can take time off work to accommodate your personal life - you don't have to use all 25 days (average) to sit on a beach.

Purple2012 Sat 31-Aug-13 19:10:32

I didn't begrudge using a days annual leave for my uncles funeral. What made me mad was the woman who didn't come to work because her cat or rabbit (can't remember which) was not made to take leave.

flowery Sat 31-Aug-13 19:26:40

That's appalling Heffalump sad

confettiwoman Sat 31-Aug-13 20:48:32

Go using your annual leave, but make sure you manage to somehow not volunteer for something your boss would want you to do in the future. Whether it be covering phones whilst others go to lunch, not doing a report, or covering for him/her in someway. Make yourself unavailable or simply don't volunteer. Even don't stay 15 mins late when you would normally.

My boss did the same for my Grandads funeral that i had to organise! We 'get' 3 days a year of compassionate leave, and he suggested i 'save' 2 of them in case i need them. I bluntly told him i don't have any more relatives that are about to pop their clogs and that i was taking the 3 days. Full stop.

Be strong, and be awkward.

I'm amazed that in this day and age, where 'family' covers all sorts of set ups, that they can be so prescriptive about what defines family.

Sorry for your loss Wato flowers

chocolateicecream Sat 31-Aug-13 22:35:35

I am very sorry for your loss.

In my eyes 'a close relative' is a relative that you felt close to no matter who they are. I remember feeling devastated when I lost my uncle, all his nieces and nephews adored him and felt the same. I gave a speech at his funeral. Only recently I discovered that this speech really touched the vicar who himself was an uncle but not a farther. It made him realise how important his uncle role was.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Sat 31-Aug-13 23:08:35

I'm amazed you think they wouldn't be prescriptive about what constitutes a family. Otherwise you'd get people taking days off for their second cousins girlfriends stepsisters aunties funeral.

It's a business, not a charity. Thats what your leave is for.

FreeWee Sat 31-Aug-13 23:19:44

quoteunquote that sounds like a supportive policy. I'm a firm believer that if you care about somebody enough to be prepared to go to their funeral (sounds weirdly worded but I hate funerals and have to brace myself for them) then you should be shown some compassion for your loss and get compassionate leave.

Having said that evil wretches who lie about going to a funeral when really they just want a day off give honest grieving people a bad name and should be hauled over the coals if discovered What sick bastard lies about someone's death?

OP I'm sorry for your loss and if you feel you were close to your uncle then I'd have given you compassionate leave sod HR bloody policy

Lethologica Sat 31-Aug-13 23:26:52

I am very sorry for your loss and, of course, I think that an Uncle is a close relative but I still think you are unreasonable to expect to be paid.
I would just take the day as annual leave.

I hope everything goes well next week. thanks

BackforGood Sat 31-Aug-13 23:34:45

Sorry for your loss
I agree with most other people on here. An Uncle might be close to you, or might not, but in terms of allowing compassionate leave, there has to be a line drawn and that is usually parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse and children.
It's not so bad for people who can take Annual leave, but becomes more difficult if you are in a job like teaching and don't have that option. sad

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now