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New scheme aims to help bereaved employees

A new scheme has been launched to encourage employers to take bereavement more seriously.

The Compassionate Employers programme allows companies and organisations to gain a better understanding of how bereavement among staff can have long-lasting effects on productivity, morale and absenteeism, and how to introduce policies and good practice to support staff through loss.

Glenis Freeman of the National Council for Palliative Care, lead body of Dying Matters, led the development of the programme. She said: “Many employers allow compassionate leave for a funeral, but fail to spot that the effects of bereavement can last for months or years. Staff may be under-performing for a long time after losing a loved one, with colleagues and managers aware something is wrong but unable to say the right thing.”

Research by NCPC from 2015 found that 56 percent of people would consider leaving their job if their employer did not provide proper bereavement support, and 32 percent of those bereaved in the last five years said they were not treated compassionately by their employer at the time.

Glenis said: “We often spend as much time with work colleagues as we do with our families, yet often don’t know what to say when someone at work is grieving. A few simple words can make a huge difference. Managers also need to know that people may seem to have got over a loss, but be hurting again months later.

“The right response can help people get back to doing their best work again more quickly, help keep staff and stop under-performance affecting a whole team.”

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