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

Your Rights to Time Off For Funerals

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 17 Jun 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]
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
@Joey - yes, your employer can ask you to verify this, especially if it involves a period of absence or compassionate leave as a result. Dan.
DParr - 20-Apr-17 @ 2:09 PM
Is it legal for your employer to ask for proof of a funeral or death in the family? Even if it may cause emotional stress in my work environment.
Joey - 20-Apr-17 @ 8:17 AM
My step mum has passed away what leave for a funeral would I expect thanks
Frustrated - 6-Apr-17 @ 6:50 PM
Last year my wife's cousin passed away, unfortunately I had no holidays left to take to go to the funeral, my boss said that sort something out I've just found out they have reduced my holidays by one day for this year is this okay?
Captain caveman - 24-Mar-17 @ 5:08 PM
Bern - Your Question:
As an agency worker for 15 weeks I had to go to a funeral in Ireland. I informed the agency and following my return I worked the next week. The beginning of the following week the agency cancelled my contract. As I had one other period of which was 2 days due to illness. Can the agency just get rid of me?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, yes, if your agency contract says it can.
WorkingRights - 1-Mar-17 @ 11:52 AM
As an agency worker for 15 weeks i had to go to a funeral in Ireland. I informed the agency and following my return i worked the next week. The beginning of the following week the agency cancelled my contract. As i had one other period of which was 2 days due to illness. Can the agency just get rid of me?
Bern - 28-Feb-17 @ 6:55 PM
Trouble - Your Question:
Hi my aunt died and I wish to attend funeral however nothing in my contract about compasionate leave. Where do I stand on this and will I be paid.

Our Response:
You would have to negotiate this matter directly with your employer. It will be up to your employer's discretion whether you will be paid or not. Usually compassionate leave with pay is given more to very close family members, rather than extended family members. However, each employer differs with regards to giving time off and pay for such matters.
WorkingRights - 25-Jan-17 @ 11:50 AM
Hi my aunt died and I wish to attend funeral however nothing in my contract about compasionate leave. Where do I stand on this and will I be paid.
Trouble - 24-Jan-17 @ 3:53 PM
amy.. - Your Question:
Hi I have recently started a new job, when I started at the job my dad was currently reported as a missing person. In nov my dads body was found I went into work but found it defficult I then took 2 days off that were put as unpaid leave when I went bsck to work I was to attend a back to work interview but my employer new what was going on as when he was missing it was on the media. Due to my dad been missing for 5 months their was a long period of time before the death cerficiate was relised and now I havr taken 2 days off to arrange the funeral and now my employer want to fire me. is this the correct procedure for them to follow ? Thanks

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. You don't say whether you obtained permission from your employer or not. However, if you didn't, then your employer is within his/her rights to give a disciplinary. You would firstly have to read the terms and conditions of your contract which will lay out the terms. If you still are unsure please give ACAS a call and speak with someone directly.
WorkingRights - 5-Jan-17 @ 3:06 PM
Hi i have recently started a new job, when i started at the job my dad was currently reported as a missing person. In nov my dads body was found i went into work but found it defficult i then took 2 days off that were put as unpaid leave when i went bsck to work i was to attend a back to work interview but my employer new what was going on as when he was missing it was on the media. Due to my dad been missing for 5 months their was a long period of time before the death cerficiate was relised and now i havr taken 2 days off to arrange the funeral and now my employer want to fire me.. is this the correct procedure for them to follow ? Thanks
amy.. - 5-Jan-17 @ 7:33 AM
Bubble - Your Question:
Out of the team of 10 that I manage, there are 4 young lads who play for the local rugby team. Tragically one of their friends/teammates died on the pitch of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect aged just 26. The guys are obviously devastated and should all attend the funeral, however, the business won't function with nearly half the team missing. How should I deal with this? We are a logistics company and the guys concerned are all field based. I can't have them all off at once but I don't want to stop them attending the funeral.

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. While the team may all wish to attend, I'm sure they will understand the predicament you are in as a company. Likewise, you obviously wish to compromise where you can. I can only suggest you speak with them as a group and either ask them to choose one person to attend as representatives on their behalf, or choose a person yourself who you think was closest to him as a friend. Communication is the best way around it, in an attempt to be fair.
WorkingRights - 9-Nov-16 @ 10:48 AM
Out of the team of 10 that I manage, there are 4 young lads who play for the local rugby team. Tragically one of their friends/teammates died on the pitch of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect aged just 26. The guys are obviously devastated and should all attend the funeral, however, the business won't function with nearly half the team missing. How should I deal with this? We are a logistics company and the guys concerned are all field based. I can't have them all off at once but i don't want to stop them attending the funeral.
Bubble - 8-Nov-16 @ 1:08 PM
Greengo - Your Question:
Hi my grandmother past away so I let my employer no and asked for the day off he says your only intitled to 2 hours off unless you use one of your holidays is this correct. Thanks

Our Response:
It is correct if your employer says it is correct. Your employer does not have to grant you leave - it is at his/her discretion.
WorkingRights - 11-Oct-16 @ 3:00 PM
Hi my grandmother past away so I let my employer no and asked for the day off he says your only intitled to 2 hours off unless you use one of your holidays is this correct. Thanks
Greengo - 11-Oct-16 @ 7:50 AM
My stepdad passed away on Wednesday at 1:45 am. I was in the hospital with my mother tuesday afternoon till his passing. With only 3 hours sleep I went to my job 3rd shift that Wednesday 9pm till Thursday at 5am. I have thursday nights off but I just feel so sad and my mom is so heartbroken taking care my mom and setting up mass time at church and all that stuff. So i went to work tired n stressed. Mass is saturday at 3 and we have to cook and get church ready so i asked manager to please give mevday off have not slept n im grieving, tired, and sad. She said to find replacementbeen trying all day and no one will cover me so i told her to please cover me and she said ill get written up if i don't go. So i have to go. It's not fare!!
Angela - 2-Oct-16 @ 12:42 AM
When my sister passed away ,i wen't to the north unexpectedly ,i contact my manager to tell him about everthing that had been happening than he told me that it was ok he do understand ,the reason i could phone my boss its because the office was orldy closed and it was late,when i came back from the north they told me that i were surposed to come at the office the day my sister passd on,how could that be possible, i went for the healing that was declined and they did the same to my appeal letter that they asked me to write, but the day i came back i was having a proof of my sister dearth Certificate,but they fired me just like that,what should i do ,should i keep quite or should i go to labour? I need help
Courtney - 3-Sep-16 @ 8:57 AM
I give my employer a week notice telling them o was going to my grandmas funeral Friday I returned to work Monday and found out I had been sack they said I had broken my contract Evan tho they gave me permission to go
Sue - 12-Jul-16 @ 2:43 PM
Lucie - Your Question:
Just been asked to make up time I needed for father in law's funeral. I was in prior to the funeral feel this is unfairHA

Our Response:
I'm afraid you would have to take this up directly with your employer. Compassionate leave may be granted in situations when a direct and close relative dies. However, it is up to your employer's discretion otherwise.
WorkingRights - 18-May-16 @ 2:33 PM
Just been asked to make up time i needed for father in law's funeral. I was in prior to the funeral feel this is unfairHA
Lucie - 18-May-16 @ 12:02 AM
rowsie - Your Question:
Hi my granddad passed away last week. I had two days off work to deal with my own grief and look after my mum. When I returned to work my manager had booked my holiday days I had remaining to cover this. Am I right in thinking that I am untitled to unpaid leave for this.Also they are trying to make me book holiday for the funeral.Is this not also covered by unpaid leave if I choose.

Our Response:
It is at the discretion of your employerwhether your leave should be taken as holiday or unpaid leave.
WorkingRights - 6-May-16 @ 2:21 PM
Hi my granddad passed away last week. I had two days off work to deal with my own grief and look after my mum. When I returned to work my manager had booked my holiday days I had remaining to cover this. Am I right in thinking that I am untitled to unpaid leave for this. Also they are trying to make me book holiday for the funeral. Is this not also covered by unpaid leave if I choose.
rowsie - 6-May-16 @ 8:29 AM
My neice work at a hospital from what. I,m gathering they wont let her take off work tomorrow what could she do to go and keep her job?
Dman - 23-Apr-16 @ 2:09 PM
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