How employers handle bereaved employees can make all the difference
We want to hear from you. Grief in the workplace
We want to hear your stories of employers behaving well and not so well in the face of grief. With bereavement leave in Australia being an official 2 paid days (unpaid for the casually employed), we know that this time may have been grossly inadequate for many of you. While some of you would have been encouraged to take other forms of leave to cover this time off, we want to know how your employer dealt with this situation? We want to hear how you and your employer navigated this difficult time? What worked and what did not?
There are amazing stories of workplaces encouraging bereaved workers to take as much time as they need to start their grieving process. Going out of their way to accommodating a grieving employee’s gradual return to work. Care packages, check-in phone calls, flexible return to work arrangements, workplace buddy systems all contributing to an experience of feeling valued and understood.
There are also horror stories of employers not allowing any extra time for employers coming to terms with significant losses, thus feeling they have no choice but to resign from their employment. The wounding from the employers lack of understanding and empathy compounds the grief the person is experiencing.
Grief is to be expected after a significant loss, and it generally becomes less intensity over time. Feeling you have been ‘wronged’ by an non-compassionate workplace, can smart for years.
We need to reflect on how we can make this better, not just for the employee’s we love and care about, but for all employers. Grief is universal and does not discriminate. If your casually employed, or working full time, white collar or blue, your grief trajectory will be similar. Please share your story. We need to know and reflect on what helps and what can be done better.