Bereavement Leave In UK – Complete Guide

Bereavement Leave In UK Complete Guide

We all know how difficult it can be to cope with the death of a loved one. Bereavement Leave isn’t as distressing as the feelings of isolation and loneliness that follow it. This is where your colleagues come into play. Like these, it is your colleagues and superiors who can ease the pain and bring you back to the real world.

A recent survey found that around one in three UK companies gives no time off to their employees in the event of their death. This is although most employers tell their staff that they can take time off in such a situation.

We look at the legislation concerning the leave of employees when a member of their family dies and when employers can and can’t force their employees to come into work.

What Is Bereavement Leave In The UK?

What Is Bereavement Leave In The UK

Bereavement leave allows employees to take time off work upon the death of a loved one. There are two types of bereavement leave in the UK:

  1. Bereavement Leave Without Pay (BLWP) for up to 28 days, which includes 2 days before and 2 days after the death; and
  2. Bereavement Leave With Pay (BLWP) for up to 5 years, which includes 3 days before and 3 days after. The latter also includes the first two days after the death.

If an employee is taking BLWP for over two weeks, they must apply to take BLWP. We can take BLWP during hours off, and the employee must be able to provide medical evidence they cannot work.

An exempt employee is an employee whose job does not involve heavy physical activities and may apply to take BLWP for a shorter period. Exempt employees can take their bereavement leave with pay during normal working hours.

Bereavement leave affects the company’s profits, but the time that an employee will be absent from their job can affect the amount of income that they will earn over a specific time period.

Employees who want to take BLWP will need to notify their employer in advance and get permission if it is necessary to take permission, or possibly under their contract. And employers may refuse the request if they have a legitimate business reason.

If an employee is going to take leave, they must give their employer a minimum of seven days’ notice. Before the leave begins, employees must work out how many days they will take as bereavement leave and provide written notice.

If the employee cannot provide at least seven days’ notice, they can do so with as little as two working days’ notice. Employees should do everything they can to ensure that their absence from work is as short as possible.

Criteria For Getting Bereavement Leave

Criteria For Getting Bereavement Leave

No matter what your position in the company, there are still some criteria that need to be met. There are five major requirements for you to apply for bereavement leave, including:

  1. Having worked for your employer continuously for at least two years;
  2. Being appointed as an exempt employee;
  3. Showing signs of mental or physical illness or disability;
  4. It is not reasonable to expect the employee to remain at work having no break from their day-to-day activities; and
  5. Relating this leave back to the reason that they got it.

How To Calculate The Bereavement Leave Pay?

How To Calculate The Bereavement Leave Pay

The companies calculate the amount of bereavement leave pay in the UK using hours worked. This is most commonly assessed by taking the average number of hours that a person works per week and then dividing it by 20 (the number of days that most employees receive bereavement leave).

If an employee’s gross hourly rate is £15, and they work 40 hours per week, then they would receive 1/20th (25%) of their gross annual salary in bereavement leave pay.

So if an employee were to draw a net monthly salary (before tax) of £3,000, they would receive 25% (£600) in bereavement leave pay. There are also calculators online which can calculate this for you without too much trouble.

If the employee’s hourly rate is less than £15, then they calculate the amount by multiplying their hourly rate by 25%.

Bereavement leave pay in the UK differs from employer to employer and several factors can affect it, including:

Companies may not entitle all employees to bereavement leave, and there are certain circumstances in which people may lose their entitlement. We can relate this to:

Employers in the UK do not need to provide bereavement leave with pay; however, small businesses that want to attract quality workers may offer bereavement benefits to attract employees with good business ethics and morale.

There is no legal requirement for employers to provide bereavement leave in the UK. However, it is good practice for them to do so and they should comply with any contractual obligations if they have an employee’s agreement that provides such a rite.

In the UK, if a bereaved employee wants to take more time off than the company has offered them, they can apply for discretionary family leave – they intend this for those who have lost a close relative and want to take more time off.


The word bereavement might not trigger the panic button for most people in the UK. However, it is one of the most painful experiences in life.

The pain of losing a loved one can be extremely difficult to deal with. Especially when you are in the workplace. Therefore, there are regulations in place in the UK to help support people when they are in this tough situation.

It is usually an obvious time when someone is in mourning, but sometimes it is difficult to spot.

Within a company, they form a consensus on the number of days of leave to be given for bereavement leave. They leave it to the employer to decide on the number of days based on the employee’s relationship with the deceased.

Regardless, it is important to know when you can take bereavement leave in the UK, and why it is important to have it in place.


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