A question posed by the grief reality got me thinking about this. For some reason WordPress would not allow me to post a comment. Weird. So I am answering it here, with a few twists. Many places of employment have a sliding rule based on closeness of relationship . I cannot remember what the exact policy was at one place I once worked but I remember this: I could have more days off for the death of my mother than I could in the case of my mother-in-law. Which was the case at the time and I guess that’s why it sticks in my memory. It’s weird, isn’t it? I mean, a death in the family affects us, no matter what the relationship happens to be. For some people their mother-in-law may hold a closer bond than they had with their own mother. At least that’s what one friend told me. She’d had a rocky relationship with her Mom but a close and loving one with her mother-in-law.

At any rate, how do employers come with this policy? How do we as a society measure the time needed to heal the wounds of grief? It’s such an individual thing. The pain cannot be measured. Some take much longer to recover than others. I dislike arbitrary rules but I guess there must be some policy or all would be chaos. Or would it?

My experience has been that grief is something most people avoid speaking of and often feel very uncomfortable around bereaved individuals. Why? Death is the one thing that is guaranteed in life. No one gets out of here alive. It’s just a fact of life.

If you’d like to check out the grief reality here’s the link:

19 thoughts on “How many days off work for a death in the family?

  1. Everyone processes grief differently so having a one-size fits all approach when dealing with a leave of absence or bereavement days just doesn’t seem right. At my work it’s not even advertised that we have bereavement days, but I think we get 3 per year.

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  2. Your observation about people feeling uncomfortable around grieving individuals, as well as with speaking about grief, rings true for me. I remember discussing this very observation with two others, who, along with me, led a bereavement group at a hospice. All three of us experienced the same thing with others. I also remember, many years ago, a friend of mine, only in his early twenties then, lost both of his parents very close together in time. I asked him if he wanted to go for coffee to talk. I was honest with him. I told him I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be to what we talked about, that I might cry. He was absolutely fine with that. He also told me, that I was the only one of his friends who didn’t abandon him. I am glad that back then, for him, and then years later at the hospice, I was completely comfortable around death. I always have been. I feel that I have been given a gift to be that way…feeling grateful…

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    1. There wee so many deaths in my family growing up and it was just considered part of life. I have sat with my mother before she died and with many people were bereaved. It has never bothered me either, but perhaps you’re right and it’s a gift. Grief and sadness are part of the human condition I think we need to accept it just as we do happiness. I think fear of death is very rampant in our society.

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  3. I worked for smaller private companies that did not have paid grief days. The amount of unpaid time we were allowed to take off depended on who we were relative to the boss. For some of us that meant two days for a mother or one day for a grandparent (we were obviously quite indispensible). Family and friends of the boss were allowed to grieve undisturbed for a week or more. That was pretty much the rule regardless of where I worked.

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