One in five workers ‘forced to use holidays’ to attend funerals


One in five workers are forced to use holiday or take unpaid leave to attend the funerals of family members or friends, new research by MetLife has found.

The study found that 19 percent of workers have taken unpaid leave for funerals, 11 percent have taken time off for family funerals and eight percent have been absent for the funerals of friends.

The finding also showed that younger workers are more likely use annual leave to cope with bereavement, with 23 percent of workers aged 18 to 24 using their holidays compared with 8 percent aged 45 to 54.

This research shows that bereavement should be something taken seriously by employers, as nearly a third of employees said that they would consider resigning if their employer was unsympathetic after a bereavement. Bereavement is also considered to be one of the leading causes of stress by the Health and Safety Executive.

20 percent of employees also say they have witnessed unsympathetic behavior from a boss, either towards themselves or to a colleague, and only 46 percent say that employers have been sympathetic after a bereavement.

“As anyone who has suffered from the bereavement of a close family member or friend can testify, it is a very difficult time. Despite this, a significant proportion of employers are making this tough time even harder when they really should be offering support to help staff through the grieving process,” said Employee Benefits Director at MetLife UK, Tom Gaynor.

MetLife can offer support to any employee facing a loss and can offer advice on their 24/7 service, which is open 365 days a year. Health and Safety Executive can also offer advice on their website.

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