David Cameron took 2 weeks off when Ivan died
A survey just out shows that 70 per cent of people support statutory paid bereavement leave.
The record shows that churches, celebrant organisations and undertakers’ trade associations aren’t remotely interested in offering any leadership in the matter whatever. Are you aware of anything any of them has said on the matter?
This is curious. The vocational focus of people who work with the bereaved might be supposed to be the promotion of their emotional health. What else?
Presently, a bereaved person has no legal right to take time off after a bereavement beyond time off to make funeral arrangements and time off to attend the funeral. More detail here. In the words of Acas: “Employees cannot expect to be granted leave automatically. When leave isn’t granted, they may have to use their holiday allowance.”
Did you sign the e-petition got up by Lucy Herd? If you didn’t, it’s too late now; it’s closed.
What value can an employee offer when forced back into the workplace after a traumatic bereavement? Very little, you might think. But when presenting his private members Bill to the commons, Labour MP Tom Harris offered these examples:
“In one case that was recently televised on an episode of Channel 4’s “Undercover Boss”, a driver for the waste disposal company Biffa was forced back to work just a day after the loss of his daughter. In another tragic case a father, a builder, was expected back to work five days after he lost his daughter to sudden infant death syndrome. Despite feeling unready to return to work, having barely slept, the man was told to resume work or lose his job. On yet another occasion, a parent was given just three days off after the death of his four-year-old son. The funeral was arranged on the fourth day, leading to the man having to use up his paid holiday leave to attend.”
Harris’ Bill is awaiting its second reading in the Commons on 24 January 2014. There’s time yet for celebrants and undertakers to get their acts together.
Lobbying Parliament for an increase in the Social Fund Funeral Payment is all well and good. The campaign for statutory bereavement leave is the clear priority.