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Is the death of compassionate leave upon us? Only 1 in 4 companies have a formal policy in place.

Here at Perfect Choice Funeral Plans we were interested to find out whether companies have compassionate leave policies in place, and whether employees use them properly.

We conducted a survey which found that over two thirds of UK companies do not have formal compassionate leave policies in place and that employees instead had to rely on managerial discretion, holiday allowance or unpaid leave. All those who took part in the study were aged 18 or older and in full time employment. In total there were 1,273 participants.

We initially asked the participants “In the last 5 years, have you had to take compassionate leave?”  61% said that ‘yes’ they had had to, with the remainder saying no they had not.  The 61% who said ‘yes’ were also asked “Does your company have a formal compassionate leave policy in place?” and we found that only 24% of those asked did have a policy in place, citing that it was either written into their contract or part of the company’s policy.

Of those whose company did not have a procedure in place, we asked what the alternatives that were provided for them were in the event that a friend or family member passed away. 37% said that they were asked to take the day as annual leave, a further 28% were offered the day as unpaid leave and 19% were offered the day off as compassionate leave with no impact on their leave entitlement. 15% of those asked were offered the day off, providing that the hours they missed were made up on a later date and, finally, 1% of those asked were not given the day off at all.

We also asked those surveyed whether they were currently working at the same company that they were at the time of the bereavement, and though 33% said yes they were. A large 67% said no they weren’t, and 51% of those who were no longer with the company said it was because of how they were treated following their bereavement.

A bereavement of a family member or close friend is a difficult time on its own without having to worry about work too. There are obviously grey areas which are difficult for employers to have an official stance on. However, we believe that having a clear but concise bereavement process in place can really help both parties, as both will know the parameters of the time allowed off and be able to effectively plan. Basically, it makes the whole situation less stressful for the individual(s) affected and more formalised for the business.

Perfect Choice Funeral Plans is a trading name of Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited Reg. No. 2644860 which is registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ.
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