Iain Young suggests best practice in creating a policy covering compassionate leave.
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We had the following in our handbook and policies:
“When family emergencies arise – for example, your child gets hurt at school – please inform your manager that you need some time off and try to give an idea of when you will be back. We make no distinction between male and female staff in terms of time off to deal with such matters.
“In the event of a death in the family, appropriate leave will be given in accordance with company policy but any requests for an extension of bereavement leave should be made to the appropriate regional manager or head of department in writing.
“However, we expect all employees to take their work seriously, whether you have a family or not. This means organising your domestic life to enable you to do your job well.”
“If the deceased is an immediate family member, i.e. mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparent, mother/father in law, grandchildren or partner we will allow them to take two days paid leave. This arrangement will be extended to other persons who have acted in parental responsibility.
“If the employee has to deal with the funeral arrangements a further two days will be granted in addition to the leave detailed above.
“In the event of the death of a family member but not immediate member of the family the employee, will be granted one day’s paid leave for attendance at the funeral.
“For any other sort of bereavement the company will pay time off for attendance at the funeral only. However, you will be required to make up the time lost.
“In exceptional circumstances additional paid leave may be granted at the discretion of the company.
“Employees will be required to complete a leave application form to cover the period of absence. Failure to follow correct procedures will be viewed by the company as a disciplinary offence.
“If employees require additional time off then this will need to be from their holiday entitlement and to a maximum of four weeks.”
Other adhoc compassionate leave was by individual approval. Family leave for emergencies was normally unpaid. Individual cases were reviewed on an individual basis by the regional manager and myself as head of HR.