When your parent, sibling, or spouse passes away, the last thing you likely want to deal with is your job. But if you wish to keep your job, it is essential you follow the rules of bereavement as they are set out in your employer’s handbook. No matter how difficult it is to deal with work-related issues while you are grieving for your family, it is a necessity so you will be assured to have a job when you are able to return.
While there are many employers who will be very sympathetic to your situation and offer any support you need during this difficult time, there will also be those who only focus on the job at hand and be critical of your time off from work. You may be forced to take the time off unpaid which can present additional problems for you financially in addition to the emotional toll you are experiencing.
If you have an employer who is not keen on offering sympathy or willing to extend your leave as you deal with your family situation, you must do you best to remain professional. You may need to meet with your supervisor and explain any extenuating circumstances like long-distance travel or funeral arrangements which require you take additional time off. It is in your best interest to make the arrangements upfront rather than storm out mad. You could be terminated for unexcused absences if you fail to take care of your work arrangements before leaving the office. Be sure to document the steps you have taken for requesting bereavement leave.
For those lucky enough to have a boss offering full support for your situation, be sure to still call into the office and keep your employer up to date on your status and your planned returned to work. While it is nice to have some freedoms during a difficult time, it is still important you respect your employer and your job if you wish to continue working with the company.