Home > Employment Issues > Your Rights to Time Off For Funerals

Your Rights to Time Off For Funerals

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 27 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Funeral Death Time Grief Notice Paid

Attending a funeral is difficult enough without having to worry about keeping your boss happy. Invariably, needing to attend a funeral will mean that you have lost someone important to you, so you will be dealing with your own feelings of grief, as well as trying to maintain composure at work.

Speak to Your Manager

It is important to keep your manager informed of the situation, as simply not coming into work one day will not help them to be sympathetic.

If you need to attend the funeral of a friend or relative that has been ill, let your boss or line manager know. Although you may prefer not to bring your private life into your workplace, this is bound to be an emotional time. If you let your employers know what is happening, they can be more understanding and allow time off for attending appointments or to help care for your friend or relative.

Compassionate Leave

Depending on your relationship to the person that is very ill or has died, you may be entitled to some Compassionate Leave, either to help care for them or to deal with your own grief.

The legal guidelines set out by the Government talks about ‘time off for dependants’, but as this only refers to emergencies, if your employer is particularly strict, they may not give you time off if you knew the person was ill.

Most employers will allow employees to take Unpaid Leave To Attend Funerals, although they may allow it to be paid time if the person concerned was a close relative, next of kin or dependant.

Wherever possible, give your employer notice of your plan to take time off for a funeral as they will probably need to arrange additional cover. It can be difficult to remember at this time that your workplace still needs to continue, which can make your boss or line manager seem rather harsh in these circumstances.

If you feel as though you have been treated unfairly for any reason, the ACAS website is a great source of official information regarding employment law. They also have a telephone advice line.

Employee Handbook

Although it may be the last thing you feel like doing, do consult your employee handbook. Depending on the size of your company, there may be an official procedure for taking time off to attend funerals, which can make it easier when you go to speak to your boss or line manager.

If you have come back to work after the death of someone important to you but you are finding it hard to concentrate on your work, you may ask your workplace for some time off. They may simply suggest you take a day or two to look after yourself, in which case they may or may not pay you – do check this will your HR department first or you may end up more stressed than before as you won’t know what’s happening.

If the time of the funeral you are attending is in the morning, don’t necessarily think that you will feel able to come back to work in the afternoon. They are very difficult occasions, so you may be better taking a full day off, even if you have to use a half days holiday.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Jeff - Your Question:
My brother had died and my boss agreed to pay me for only 3 days off for the funeral and now we are here for 5 months later and I go to use vacation days and they're telling me I don't have any left because they use my vacation days to pay me for the funeral without even telling me and then the office manager used my sick days to pay for my last two vacation days without even tell me so now I have no sick time or vacation days. Is this legal??? They agreed to only pay me for 3 days when I was out a week for my brothers funeral.

Our Response:
You would have to look at the terms and conditions of your employment contract to see what it says. You would really have to discuss this with your employer directly. If you cannot resolve the issue, your only recourse would then be to raise a grievance in writing, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 1-Dec-17 @ 1:01 PM
My brother had died and my boss agreed to pay me for only 3 days off for the funeral and now we are here for 5 months later and I go to use vacation days and they're telling me I don't have any left because they use my vacation days to pay me for the funeral without even telling me and then the office manager used my sick days to pay for my last two vacation days without even tell me so now I have no sick time or vacation days. Is this legal??? They agreed to only pay me for 3 days when I was out a week for my brothers funeral.
Jeff - 27-Nov-17 @ 9:13 PM
A very dear friend passed had to travel 5 states I requested 2 days of my PTO. My boss wouldnt approve it I went anyway and was written up. What makes an employer be so heartless and is this legal?
Feeling defeated - 23-Nov-17 @ 12:15 AM
My mother in law has passed away and my manager is saying I can't take the day off
Do - 17-Nov-17 @ 10:31 PM
Rach - Your Question:
I have a question can a second uncle be considered as a immediate Familly member as my boss don't thing an uncle is immediate

Our Response:
Usually, immediate family is classed as parents, brothers or sisters and children. A second-uncle wouldn't generally be classed as immediate family.
WorkingRights - 13-Nov-17 @ 2:10 PM
I have a question can a second uncle be considered as a immediate Familly member as my boss don't thing an uncle is immediate
Rach - 11-Nov-17 @ 2:59 PM
Thom - Your Question:
My husband's mothers has died and his employers have said that they don't do paid bereavment leave or compassionate leave. He's had to book a holiday for the funeral.is this right

Our Response:
Your husband would have to consult the terms and conditions of his employment contract to see what it says. Unfortunately, not all employers make allowances for compassionate leave.
WorkingRights - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:07 PM
@Angie - that is a bit mean-spirited of your employer. But, you'll have to tread carefully, your employer won't be best pleased!
Mac - 31-Oct-17 @ 2:07 PM
My husband's mothers has died and his employers have said that they don't do paid bereavment leave or compassionate leave. He's had to book a holiday for the funeral..is this right
Thom - 31-Oct-17 @ 1:28 PM
When i lived in Ireland my grandmother died and i needed a few days off to attend the funeral for flights, transport etc. My employer said i could fly over the night before the funeral, attend the funeral and fly back straight afterwards. I went to my doctor and got a sick note for two weeks off instead !! They should have been reasonable with me in the first place !
Angie - 27-Oct-17 @ 12:25 PM
@Hmm - you could ask for the days as a holiday day and not compassionate leave.
R B - 24-Oct-17 @ 12:37 PM
I was given 4 days compassionate leave to arrange my granfathers funeral, as I was one of his main carers and the only person able to do this. When I asked my employer for an extra day to attend the funeral, this was refused. Is there anything I can do to challenge this?
Hmm - 21-Oct-17 @ 1:59 PM
Robyn- Your Question:
My sister lost her dad his funeral is tomorow but I asked my boss a few days ago if I can have this day off she said I had to fill my shift in order for me to go is this right

Our Response:
If your employer says this is what you must do, then it's what you must do. As specified in the article, it's really up to your employer's discretion whether he/she allows you time off.
WorkingRights - 29-Sep-17 @ 2:52 PM
My sister lost her dad his funeral is tomorow but i asked my boss a few days ago if i can have this day off she said i had to fill my shift in order for me to go is this right
Robyn - 29-Sep-17 @ 5:05 AM
@Liz :( Your employer has a right to ask you to provide proof and to discipline you if you do not.
Nessa78 - 21-Aug-17 @ 10:48 AM
Hi. My Aunty died on Tuesday just gone and i didnt go to work Wednesday, because shes not classed as immediate family although she is my mums sister, the day came out of my annual leave. The funeral is on Monday and i have to take another day off. The boss says she will only approve another annual leave day once shes given proof! As you can gather my Boss does not like me. I really dont want to give her anything as I thinks shes overstepping the line. What are my rights?
Liz - 19-Aug-17 @ 10:26 AM
Jack - Your Question:
A close friend of mine has died and my employer has said I cannot have the day off work to attend the funeral which has upset me. I want to go and if I do will I be at risk of losing my job? Can they do this?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, your employer can prevent this. We cannot say whether you will be dismissed if you go without authorisation. But it is possible depending on the circumstances, please see link here .
WorkingRights - 20-Jul-17 @ 2:03 PM
Tueey619 - Your Question:
Hi my Father's funeral was two days ago and I had yesterday off work as annual leave. I came back to work today and I think it was too soon as im having outbursts of emotion and im losing concentration all the time. should I speak to my manager to arrange more time off

Our Response:
You should speak to your manager regarding this if you feel you have returned to work too soon. It will then be up to you and your manager to negotiate whether you should/or are able to take further leave and whether that leave will be paid or unpaid.
WorkingRights - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:52 PM
A close friend of mine has died and my employer has said i cannot have the day off work to attend the funeral which has upset me. I want to go and if i do will i be at risk of losing my job? Can they do this?
Jack - 19-Jul-17 @ 9:25 PM
Hi my Father's funeral was two days ago and i had yesterday off work as annual leave. I came back to work today and i think it was too soon as im having outbursts of emotion and im losing concentration all the time. should i speak to my manager to arrange more time off
Tueey619 - 19-Jul-17 @ 1:34 PM
@Dede - While it sounds like your manager is trying to cover your back, I'd be very careful as it could backfire.
Fee - 4-Jul-17 @ 11:36 AM
I was off sick last month and now a close friend has died ask for day off for funeral and was told no by manager as no one to cover my shift .she suggested just to phone in sick and this would cover her with general management .I have proof of conversation but can I be sacked or disciplinary for calming to be sick.
Dede - 3-Jul-17 @ 6:32 PM
Wbh1138 - Your Question:
I'm asking for a day off for my cousin's funeral.I'm told I have to have it as unpaid even though I have holidays spare Is this right?

Our Response:
It is up to your employer whether you are allocated the time as paid or unpaid. If you wish to take the funeral as part of your annual leave and get paid for it, you would have to speak with your employer directly.
WorkingRights - 20-Jun-17 @ 12:18 PM
I'm asking for a day off for my cousin's funeral. I'm told I have to have it as unpaid even though I have holidays spare Is this right?
Wbh1138 - 17-Jun-17 @ 2:00 PM
Mikey - Your Question:
I'm needing a couple of days off for funeral. My mother's sister my only aunt. Do I fall under amidite family for the time off

Our Response:
You would have to discuss this directly with your employer.
WorkingRights - 15-May-17 @ 2:24 PM
I'm needing a couple of days off for funeral. My mother's sister my only aunt. Do I fall under amidite family for the time off
Mikey - 15-May-17 @ 3:10 AM
Estallk - Your Question:
My brother in law has died. his funeral is going to be 600 miles from where I live. so attending his funeral will mean I'm off work for 2 days. I have had 3 days of in 3 year through illness and have never had any sort of disciplinary. Can they stop me going? What's the worst they can do if I do go? Surely the can't sack me?This is my son's uncle.I want him to be able to see his family at a time like this.

Our Response:
Dependent upon the terms and conditions of your employment contract, you may have to take the days as annual leave. I would advise not going without first consulting and agreeing how you will take the time off with your employer. You could be disciplined if you take time off that is unauthorised.
WorkingRights - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:56 PM
My brother in law has died.... his funeral is going to be 600 miles from where I live.... so attending his funeral will mean I'm off work for 2 days. I have had 3 days of in 3 year through illness and have never had any sort of disciplinary. Can they stop me going? What's the worst they can do if I do go? Surely the can't sack me? This is my son's uncle....I want him to be able to see his family at a time like this.
Estallk - 26-Apr-17 @ 8:03 AM
Mumm - Your Question:
Can an employer refuse to give you time off for a parents funeral, my sons girlfriends father was murdered in a violent attack. The employer is a very large gambling company who feels she is needed at work and have declined compassionate leave?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, your son's girlfriend would have to consult the terms and conditions of her contract and employee's handbook. It is up to the employer's discretion. However, funerals of close relatives are usually allowed and not to be able to attend the funeral of her father is very unempathetic. Therefore, she may wish to give ACAS a call to see what rights she has.
WorkingRights - 24-Apr-17 @ 2:55 PM
Can an employer refuse to give you time off for a parents funeral, my sons girlfriends father was murdered in a violent attack. The employer is a very large gambling company who feels she is needed at work and have declined compassionate leave?
Mumm - 23-Apr-17 @ 11:36 PM
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