Does an employer have to allow paid or other leave when an employee suffers a family bereavement?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 3 July 2018
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered:

There is no specific statutory right to paid or other time off for a family bereavement, save in the limited circumstances where “emergency leave” applies.

However, an employer may have a bereavement policy or compassionate leave policy in place which covers situations where an employee loses a close family member. If such policy is in place, the employer must follow it. Further, if it is contained within an employee handbook which is contractual in nature, failure to follow this policy could leave the employer open to a breach of contract claim.

Employers must ensure that they factor in potential discrimination issues when responding to a request for time off following a bereavement. For

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 03/07/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI

The main content of this article was provided by Chris Fullerton. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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