More than two-fifths (43%) of employers offer no additional support beyond time off for bereavement, according to research by bereavement support firm Empathy.
Its 2024 report The cost of dying, which surveyed 2,000 respondents who have experienced the loss of an immediate family member in the last five years, as well as more than 200 business leaders and HR professionals, also found almost two-thirds (62%) of organisations now have policies directly addressing bereavement. Despite grief professionals recommending at least 20 days off for those who are recently bereaved, the average time off offered was 5.6 days.
The majority (95%) of those who have experienced loss reported suffering from at least one symptom of physical or mental ill-health. Nearly half stopped participating in some everyday activities, 47% dealt with at least one negative repercussion at work, and 21% dealt with at least three, including trouble concentrating and being less productive.
More than four-fifths (84%) of those who experienced loss reported a negative impact on daily life and 35% withdrew from social circles.
The majority (92%) of will executors said their work was impacted by the loss they had experienced, and were twice as likely as non-executors to experience a decline in their reputation at work and have their working hours reduced.
Ron Gura, co-founder and chief executive officer at Empathy, said: “Our latest research continues to underscore the immense impact of bereavement on employees, and highlights the critical need for extended support beyond paid leave. By providing a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted struggles faced by grieving families, from the complex processes they navigate to the persistent financial hardships they endure, we hope to raise awareness of the need for meaningful support to help those bereaved.
“As we continue our journey to bring full-circle bereavement support to as many families as possible, we aspire to foster open conversations, reduce stigma and pave the way for meaningful societal change to support those coping with the realities of loss.”