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Bereavement Policies

Bereavement Support in the Workplace

Grief is something which all employees experience and which will inevitably, also impact on their colleagues in some way.  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 which 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 which 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 which 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 which 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 which is intended to serve as a template and can be adapted to the specific needs of your organisation. 

3. Wicklow Local Authorities Guidelines on Bereavement

Wicklow county council guidelines on grief in the workplace

Wicklow Local Authorities guidelines for employees on understanding grief in the workplace.

This is a very useful and practical booklet which 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. 

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