Modern Bereavement Leave in Pandemic Times
The rarely used benefit taking center stage
in a play no one wants to see
Bereavement leave is rarely mentioned when companies extend an offer to a prospective hire. They mention the 401k, or the on-site gym, but those three days of paid leave to say farewell to a family member are just an accepted part of the standard benefits package found almost anywhere. It’s always been questionable whether three days is sufficient to say one’s goodbyes, especially when a family death involves travel, settling affairs, or cleaning out a house.
The current situation is going to test this model in several ways. First, the number of people who are about to start using bereavement leave will be unprecedented. No matter where you are in the world, or which virus model you ascribe to, there will be death. Before long, everyone will know someone who has lost a family member and someone at work.
Before COVID-19, requests for bereavement leave were