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Some 43% of bereaved brits not offered paid leave to attend a funeral

C.P.J. Field, the UK’s oldest funeral directors, is calling on Brits to support its #PaidLeaveToGrieve campaign – encouraging all UK employers to offer a flexible paid bereavement policy to its staff.

There is currently no mandatory paid leave policy in the UK for bereaved workers, and it comes as C.P.J. Field’s research found that some 43% of workers were not able to access paid leave to attend a funeral.

The funeral director’s research also found that 22% of Brits feel they were not granted enough time off to grieve and nearly a fifth (19%) took no time off to grieve at all following the death of a loved one.

In addition, it found 27% wish they had been given pre-grief support – time off to help care for a loved one with a terminal illness before the bereavement itself and that 94% believe an official employer policy should be flexible, to allow for the fact that everyone’s experience with grief is unique.

The proposed bereavement policy allows all workers two weeks of flexible paid leave following the death of a close family member, spouse or partner, including pre-grief. The #PaidLeaveToGrieve petition campaigns for all political parties to include a commitment to work towards an official Bereavement Law as part of their 2024 manifestos.

It is estimated that bereavement at work costs the UK economy £23bn a year through reduced tax revenue and increased use of NHS and social care services. It said investing in appropriate bereavement leave and support could lead to a “significant” long-term saving for the UK economy through reduced absence and increased productivity.

As part of the campaign, C.P.J. Field is working with Stacey Heale, widow of Greg Gilbert, the lead singer of indie band Delays, and Flora Baker, a freelance travel and grief writer whose parents both died in her twenties.

Baker said: “When I discovered my dad was dying, I thought I knew what was coming because I’d already been through it with my mum nine years earlier… but the grief of his death felt very different. Every relationship you have is unique, so it makes sense the grief is too.

“Grief isn’t a linear process: we feel isolated by these intense emotions, and we don’t know how to ‘recover’ from them. It’s taken a long time to understand that I’m not alone in this, because the majority of adult Brits have suffered a bereavement in their lives – and if we talk honestly about our grief, the more we can help each other through it.”

Jeremy Field, MD at C.P.J. Field, added: “Just as no two lives are the same, neither are two people’s experience of grief.

“Through our experience of supporting families following the death of a loved one and beyond, we’ve identified a need within the UK for an official employer bereavement policy, and our consumer research solidified that. We’re calling for UK employers to broaden their offering of compassionate leave and offer paid leave to all workers when it’s needed most.”

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