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Funerals/unpaid leave....and 'respect'

(128 Posts)
troisgarcons Wed 28-Sep-11 20:46:17

Run with me on this one before the pitchforks come out.

Many of us get to a certain age when funerals of friends parents (and our own parents) become more frequent. These are people who, had us in their houses growning up and quite often you still maintain a good relationship with.

Most of us that work have a certain flexibily, either to swap shifts or may be work a lunch hour and leave early etc if there is a childcare issue or medical appt.

However it's becoming more and more prevalent that if you verify there is a funeral you would like to attend (the only exceptions being parent/spouse/child) that you are expected to take unpaid leave.

There was a time when it was expected that a business would shut down for the afternoon of a funeral and every one went. Simply because its respectful.

Over the past three years, some long serving albeit retired staff where I work have passed on. The funerals were at 3pm, same time as the school hours finish. Only two staff were allowed to go to 'represent' despite lessons would have been easily covered.

There was a funeral recently I wanted to go to (parent of a dear friend) and I offered to swap 2 lunch breaks for an early getaway. Refused point blank and told to take unpaid leave as flexi time wasn't ever going to happen and I shouldnt ask for it.

Similarly, at BILS workplace (large blue chip company), a woman lost her husband and was told she would get 3 days paid leave to 'sort things' and she was expected back at her desk on the 4th day.

Im not suggesting people should become professional mourners, and seek to attend funerals for the hell of it/on a whim but where the heck has respect gone?

Sirzy Wed 28-Sep-11 20:48:48

But can businesses afford to lose money/time especially in the current climate?

Unfortunately there has to be some sort of limits in place for these things as hard as that is.

Flisspaps Wed 28-Sep-11 20:49:05

Three days to grieve and 'sort out' after the death of a husband? shock

banana87 Wed 28-Sep-11 20:49:32

I would not expect to have paid leave/time off to attend the funeral of a friend or a friends parent, or even a collegue. As long as the employer allows the absence/time off (i.e. it is not unauthorized), then I really cannot see the problem I'm afraid. Since when does paid time off=respect?

troisgarcons Wed 28-Sep-11 20:51:47

If you can work through your lunch to havea smear test , I dont see why you cant work through to go to a funeral ..... maybe Im a bit weird tht way - provided it doesnt affect anyone else.

Yes - 3 days, I found that shocking.

Signet2012 Wed 28-Sep-11 20:53:31

I had three staff last week expecting me to pay them to be off work for a full afternoon for a funeral of someone they knew when they where kids.

not going to happen. Finding cover for one is bad enough, I found the cover for three somehow but advised one they would have to work the next afternoon to give the time back, she thought she could have compassionate leave. Again.

I have a funeral to go to this week, Ill lose the money because its important to me to go and show my respects if I cant make the hours up or swp then Ill have to take unpaid, I dont expect to be paid when Im not there!

HeidiKat Wed 28-Sep-11 20:54:40

YABU I'm afraid, you said it yourself that funerals are becoming a more frequent event in your life, unpaid leave seems reasonable as why should employers be out of pocket for you to attend funerals of non family members? I agree that bereavement leave should be paid on the loss of immediate family but not for parents of friends or ex colleagues, that is taking it too far.

Signet2012 Wed 28-Sep-11 20:55:54

Three days is shocking, we would pay 5 compassionate leave as policy states but then expect a sick note, use customary hours and speak to Hr if person was going to be off longer. Our company doesnt seem to understand step dads/mams or partners not husbands mind... its very annoying having to argue to get someone CL for a step dad who has been there since they where children deserves CL

ToothbrushThief Wed 28-Sep-11 20:57:05

I think if you wish to pay your respects, you should do....but not expect your workplace to pay for you to do so.


If you lose a close family member (child/husband/wife/parent) frankly how long is long enough? It's going to differ case to case so I'd say 3 days is a good starting point and then your GP gets to decide if you can cope with work. Some people like work and their colleagues... and would prefer to have that normality.

If it were my staff I'd offer them flexi time until they were able to cope with full time.

coastgirl Wed 28-Sep-11 20:57:13

I am a teacher and earlier this year the DH of one of our department died - we have mostly known each other for some years and a lot of us were genuinely upset. The headteacher said anyone who wanted to go to the funeral could, no questions asked, and asked for volunteers to cover our lessons - there were enough people putting themselves forwards to cover the periods needed many times over.

I went to the funeral and like the other staff that attended was quite touched by the school's response. I know his wife was as well.

troisgarcons Wed 28-Sep-11 20:58:15

You wont like this tale - I once worked in a place where, when a blokes mother died he was refused any leave (blue chip bank abck in the 80's) and wasnt allowed time to attend her funeral either .... he hung himself in the stairwell at work that afternoon sad

I know Im a bit old fashioned, but respect is due and also supporting friends.

And I am talking about where your job isnt necessarily timebound and you can swap a lunch for an early getaway if needed ~ or collegues willingly cover for you, knowing you will cover for them down the line.

thatsenough Wed 28-Sep-11 20:58:29

My Mum died less than two weeks ago, I have two part time jobs, one gave me two days compassionate leave and one two weeks.

The reality is that I would have been in no fit state to go back to work after two days and have had to take unpaid leave - to be honest I feel quite bitter about it at the moment.

chocoroo Wed 28-Sep-11 20:59:50

YABU, I think.

Although it's great if companies can accommodate requests for paid, compassionate leave I think it's fair enough to restrict this to immediate family. Anything else can be taken as unpaid or as holiday.

The company who required a grieving wife to be back at her desk after three days on the other hand are being very unreasonable. I suspect it may be urban legend.

troisgarcons Wed 28-Sep-11 21:01:55

The company who required a grieving wife to be back at her desk after three days on the other hand are being very unreasonable. I suspect it may be urban legend.

Not urban legend, the lady lives in my road.

youarekidding Wed 28-Sep-11 21:01:58

3 days shock

I think in that situation you then need a GP note signing you off for grief.

My school has been good in the past. A pupil funeral last year we had the whole next day out of class (after she died) and afternoon off for funeral (class staff and anyone who attended had time they needed). This year at another pupil funeral we had the whole day off afterwards in school with EP counselling and the whole morning off for the funeral. The following month at another pupil funeral we had the time off for the service as there was no wake and an hour to 'regroup ourselves' on return to school.

I had the whole day off when my Nan died 2 years ago. I asked the HT for time off for the service and said I wanted the rest of the day off too (was my Dads last family member), and my DB had come from forces, I expected it to be unaid but it wasn't. I attended my Uncles funeral earlier this year and was given paid time off then as well.

I guess I am lucky to have a very family orientated HT and governers.

I accept though non-immediate family and friends could/ should be unpaid but I don't think people should refuse you to attend a funeral.

Tomorrowslookingfine Wed 28-Sep-11 21:02:43

thatsenough sorry for your loss sad 2 days leave is disgusting!

Signet2012 Wed 28-Sep-11 21:03:12

thatsenough can you not get a sicknote from GP? one of my staff where in a similiar position a few months back, 5 days wasnt enough as she was only 20 and it was very sudden and in all honesty I dont think it had even sunk it after five days.... I told her to go to the GP and tell them what had happened, that she couldnt sleep, felt anxious and upset and that she was expected back in work. She did as I said and came back with a 4 week sicknote.

Probably get shot if HR found out but tbh the lass had enough to worry about without not getting a wage as well.

BikeRunSki Wed 28-Sep-11 21:03:41


Compassionate leave after a death is at line manager's discretion where I work. When the mother of one of my reports died, he asked for a week and I gave it to him, no questions asked. When the wife of another of my reports died, he was off for 4 months full time, then a phased part time return. I managed this with HR.

When a very long standing. well liked member of staff died a month before his 40th birthday a couple of years ago, anyone from my/his dept was allowed the afternoon to go to the funeral, and we organised company car-shares.

Many years later, I am still bitter that (in a different job), I was not allowed compassionate/flex time/dip into next year's leave, to go to my great uncle's funeral, even though he was my "in-lieu-of-a-grandfather" person. I had used all my leave for that year.

troisgarcons Wed 28-Sep-11 21:03:55

thatsenough you poor lass sad I feel for you, I really do x

Maisiethemorningsidecat Wed 28-Sep-11 21:04:50

I wouldn't expect to get paid leave to attend the funeral of anyone who wasn't a close family member tbh.

3 days is the other extreme though. What on earth goes through the brain of the manager who thinks this is in any way appropriate? angry

chocoroo Wed 28-Sep-11 21:05:14

troisgarcons That's truly shocking then. Poor lady.

MrsDaffodill Wed 28-Sep-11 21:05:18

Thatsenough sorry for your loss. I am not surprised you are feeling bitter about the two days.

My dad wasn't given leave to attend his father's funeral. It was a long way away, and they said he couldn't have the travel time it would take. Or rather he could, but in that case not to come back to work ever.

Dirtydishesmakemesad Wed 28-Sep-11 21:05:31

3 days is awful. I remember when my mum died my dad was told "take as much time as you need" and his boss travelled to the funeral which was 200 miles away (she was buried near her parents). Perhaps it was different as my dad was left with two children but i imagine not?. 3 days is disgraceful.

ivykaty44 Wed 28-Sep-11 21:06:15

I can remember in 1977 my uncle dropped dead one night, my mum and dad travelled the next day 200 miles to be with his widow. My dad was asked by his company (blue chip) to provide them with a copy of the death certificate as they wanted proof he had attended the death and funeral of a relative for his unpaid leave for 3 days (he worked shifts and missed three days work)

Up until this point he hadn't had sick leave or any other type of leave for the previous 11 years

So I am not sure things have changed

and yes shock three days to sort things out and back to work... tis why we need sick notes for grief

Flowerista Wed 28-Sep-11 21:07:08

So sorry to hear about your mum * thatsenough*

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