Managing grief at work

Bereavement support in the workplace

Grief is something all employees experience, and it will inevitably also impact colleagues in some way. Managing grief at work is important. Bereavement policies are not just good practice, they are extremely helpful to employees and managers, ensuring a proactive and equitable approach to managing employee grief by clearly defining employee entitlements and supports.
The Irish Hospice Foundation has two publications that can help organisations developing bereavement policies.


1. Grief at Work – Developing a Bereavement Policy 

This publication is a general guide to developing a bereavement policy that looks at five key areas:
  1. The potential impact of bereavement and grief on employees
  2. Practical ways in which you can support them
  3. The things to consider when developing a bereavement policy
  4. Practical considerations in interpreting and implementing a bereavement policy
  5. Additional bereavement resources
It also contains a sample bereavement policy that is intended to serve as a template to be adapted to the specific needs of your organisation.


2. Breaking the Silence – A guide for employers on responding to suicide in the workplace 

In recent years Ireland has experienced a significant increase in suicide-related deaths. Suicide has a profound and far-reaching impact and like other bereavements, it can be hard to know what to do or say. When a workplace is prepared for a situation like this, it makes a huge difference to everyone involved.
This publication was designed to help employers respond sensitively and effectively to the four main suicide bereavement situations that can occur in the workplace. They are: 
  1. When an employee dies by suicide on-site
  2. When an employee dies by suicide off-site
  3. When an employee is affected by the suicide of someone who is close to them
  4. When a former employee dies by suicide
This publication also contains a sample suicide bereavement policy that is intended to serve as a template and can be adapted to the specific needs of your organisation.



Additional resources:

Wicklow Local Authorities Guidelines to Grief in the Workplace

Wicklow county council guidelines on grief in the workplace

This is a useful and practical booklet that outlines the key aspects of what is involved in different aspects of grief in the workplace. It includes sections on the grieving process, how to support a bereaved staff member, and how to break bad news.


Updated 09/12/2016

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