SOAS University of London

Human Resources

Bereavement Leave Policy and Procedure

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility
  3. Discretionary Paid Bereavement Leave
  4. Statutory Leave for Bereaved Parents
  5. Additional leave requirements
  6. Notification of leave
  7. Equality and Diversity
  8. Associated Policies and Procedures
  9. Approval

1. Introduction

1.1 This document sets out the School’s provisions for the consideration andgranting of paid bereavement leave in the sad event that an employee suffersthe death of a close relative.

2. Eligibility

2.1 All employees are entitled to request bereavement leave, regardless of lengthof service. The School will not unreasonably refuse such requests. Leave isgranted at the employee’s manager’s discretion (see section 3).

2.2 Statutory provisions are in place for employees with parental responsibilitywho have lost a child (see section 4).

3. Discretionary Paid Bereavement Leave

3.1 The length of paid bereavement leave will be determined by the employee’smanager taking account of the circumstances and the rules stipulatedbelow. Further advice can be obtained from the HR Directorate.

3.2 Following the death of a close relative, as listed below, an employee will begranted up to three days paid leave, although this may be extended to up tofive days at the manager’s discretion.

3.2.1 The School defines a close relative as follows:

  1. Parent or someone with parental responsibility (see section 4)
  2. Child
  3. Spouse or Partner
  4. Next of kin or nominated next of kin
  5. Sibling
  6. Parents-in-law, if the member of staff is responsible for the funeralarrangements.

3.3 Employees may be granted up to two days bereavement leave following thedeath of an immediate close relative not listed in section 3.2.1, subject to theirmanager’s discretion. These provisions are not intended to limit themanager’s discretion and each request for such leave should be judged onthe circumstances of the case. For instance, if an employee has been raisedby their grandparents, a longer period of leave should be granted.

3.4 If an employee has to travel to the country where their family or relative lived,their manager may grant up to a maximum of ten days paid bereavementleave. Managers should consider cases individually according to the distanceto be travelled and other relevant circumstances.

3.5 Where appropriate, an employee may be granted up to one day of paid bereavement leave to attend a funeral of a close friend or other relative.

4. Statutory Leave for Bereaved Parents

4.1 Where an employee with parental responsibility loses a child under the age of 18 or has experienced still birth after 24 weeks, they will be entitled to 2 weeks’ paid leave, if they have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks prior to when the child dies. The School has agreed that this will be at full pay, rather than at the statutory rate. These provisions are in addition to the discretionary paid bereavement leave provisions set out in Section 3.

4.2 Employees who have not been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks are entitled to two weeks’ unpaid leave, in addition to the discretionary paid bereavement leave provisions set out in Section 3.

4.3 The two weeks’ leave can be taken either in one block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each. It must be taken within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death.

4.4 Notice requirements for taking the leave are flexible, so it can be taken at short notice. The employee must inform their line manager of their intention to take one or two blocks of leave in writing normally giving 5 working days in advance of taking their leave. The line manager is responsible for informing the Payroll and Operations Team of the leave by emailing hr-operations@soas.ac.uk.

4.5 If an employee loses more than one child, they will be entitled to take a separate period of leave for each child.

5. Additional leave requirements

5.1 Where a member of staff requires leave in circumstances not outlined above in sections 3 and 4, managers should be sympathetic to requests for annual leave or unpaid leave to cover other contingencies relating to bereavement.

5.2 If an employee requires further time off work in addition to the paid bereavement leave granted under sections 3 or 4 above, then this should be taken as annual leave or unpaid leave (subject to the normal provisions of School policy on such leave).

6. Notification of leave

6.1 Where bereavement leave is granted, this should be notified to the employee in writing by the manager, and copied to the HR Directorate (hr-operations@soas.ac.uk).

7. Equality and Diversity

7.1 The procedures outlined here should be carried out with due regard to any diversity issues which may have affected either the original situation or the current process. The School’s Diversity Adviser and diversity specialists within the Human Resources Directorate are available to support colleagues in this area.

7.2 Where a diversity issue (e.g. a disability including chronic physical or mental health conditions) has been disclosed to the School, whether prior to the situation which triggered this process or during the process, the line manager co-ordinating the process is responsible for checking with the employee to determine their needs and for making the appropriate arrangements.

7.3 Employees who have not previously disclosed a diversity issue which may be relevant to this process are encouraged to do so, as early as possible, so that it can be taken into account.

8. Associated Policies and Procedures

9. Approval

9.1 This Policy was agreed with the School recognised trade unions, UCU and UNISON, on 8 April 2011.

9.2 This Policy was updated on 2 April 2020.

HR Directorate
SOAS