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Supporting a grieving employee

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Losing a loved one is a deeply painful, yet inevitable experience, which is why your business should be prepared to support a grieving employee.

In difficult times, your workplace should treat mourning staff members with as much compassion and sensitivity as possible. Sometimes this is easier said than done as fulfilling the needs of a distressed employee cannot compromise your business’ productivity.

Follow these steps to make sure you can help a grieving employee get back on their feet while keeping your business on track.

Have a face to face

Once your employee is able to make it back into work, you should call them into your office for a face-to-face chat. You can offer your condolences, show empathy for their suffering and give them the chance to vent in a safe and private space. This meeting also gives you the opportunity to check in on how your employee is doing and assess whether or not they are ready to come back to work.

Offer time off

Your employee may need a break to get their affairs together, manage funeral arrangements, and process their emotions. Your full time and part time employees are entitled to two days of paid bereavement leave after the death of a close family member. Keep in mind that the grieving process takes time and your employee may need to take extended leave.

Adjust their workload

If your employee returns to work shortly after their loss, ensure their workload is manageable. You may need to relieve them of some of their responsibilities and limit client facing tasks.

Get your team on board

Your team should be notified of your employee’s loss so they are treated with sensitivity.

Encourage your employees to take on extra work and provide emotional support to assist your grieving team member in their time of need. 

Consider organising a fundraiser to help with funeral costs or make a donation to a relevant charity to show your office support.

Offer help

Many organisations including ours at DFK Crosbie have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help. This offers confidential counselling support for all employees to help with emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing. Make sure your employees know this exists and is available for them to use if they are struggling to come to terms with loss.

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Specialist accounting and business advice, knowledge and experience for businesses and professionals.


Level 5, 12 Stewart Avenue, Newcastle West NSW 2302


Level 10, 20 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000

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