Leave Of Absence Letter For Bereavement: What Are The Right Situations To Take Time Off?

Leave of Absence Letter for Bereavement

When a loved one dies, your entire world changes. It’s difficult to get out of bed, let alone go to work and be productive. You require time to process your grief and make family arrangements.

If you decide to take bereavement leave, you should follow your employer’s policies. This ensures that the company runs smoothly in your absence and that you are paid when due.

In this article, we will discuss what bereavement leave is and how to request for it professionally. That way, we can help you in writing your own leave of absence letter

What is a Leave of Absence Letter for Bereavement? 

Bereavement leave is the time off work that companies give employees after the death of a family member or friend to allow them to make arrangements, grieve, and attend the funeral. It can also be granted if a loved one or family member is injured or sick and needs your assistance.

Employers typically grant bereavement leave for the death of immediate family members, but this can be extended to relatives or close friends depending on your responsibilities and the policy of your employer.

The Right Situations to Time Off 

You have the right to take time off if one of the following applies to you:

  • Your dependent passes away

When someone who relied on you dies, you can request bereavement leave. This includes your partner, parent, child (if under 18), or anyone else who relied on you. 

  • Your child passed away

This is referred to as parental bereavement leave. It can be taken at any time after your loss, up to a year later. Employees on parental bereavement leave may be eligible for paid time off.

  • You or your partner had a miscarriage or stillbirth

You can take up to two weeks off if your child is stillborn. This leave can be taken at any time up to a year after your loss. Your spouse is entitled to up to two weeks of paternity pay or leave. After you finish your paternity or maternity leave, you and your partner can take a two-week parental leave.

Are you entitled to paid Bereavement Leave?

There are no constitutional rights to paid time off during a bereavement leave, but your employer may choose to grant it based on your relationship. 

Many employers choose to provide paid time off for reasons such as sympathy, bereavement, or special circumstances. It is entirely up to them how much they decide to offer, but it is a good idea to discuss your needs such as travel, funeral planning, and cuisine.

How to Request Bereavement Leave

The following are the steps to take when requesting bereavement leave:

Step 1: Inform your boss as soon as possible

Inform your employer if you are aware of your loved one’s fatal disease. This will prepare them in advance for the possibility that you may have to take bereavement leave. You can also take time off to care for family members while still completing simple tasks digitally.

Step 2: Analyze the policy for structured bereavement leave

Bereavement leave policies are typically outlined in an employee handbook. Examine your employee handbook to learn about your company’s policies and procedures for requesting and taking bereavement leave. 

Step 3: Estimate the amount of time required and create a timetable

Making a timeline for your leave and return to work can assist you in organizing your thoughts following your loss. Take note of the travel dates, funeral dates, work deadlines, and when you will return to the office. Some employees return to work part-time before returning to full-time work. If you intend to do so, make a note of when the transition will occur.

Step 4: Formally request bereavement leave

Put your request in writing after discussing it with your manager. Your leave request letter gives you and your employer something to refer to during and after your leave. A formal letter is usually preferable, but an email may suffice in some cases. In your phone call or in-person meeting, ask your employer what they prefer.

Step 5: Provide all necessary documentation

Some employers require employees to provide documentation to support their bereavement leave request, such as copies of travel documents and obituaries. By providing all required documentation, your employer will be able to give your request for bereavement leave without delay.

Step 6: Provide workplace notes

Leave any notes about your current responsibilities to help coworkers manage your responsibilities while you are on leave. Arrange for a coworker to assist you with your workload if possible. If you can answer questions while you’re away, include your contact information in these notes.

Step 7: Ask your supervisor or HR to communicate with colleagues

Notify your teammates when you are leaving so that they can adjust to your absence and perform their duties effectively. If you are unable to notify your team in person, you may request that an HR representative or a supervisor do so on your behalf.

Sample and Template

To help you, we have provided samples and templates that you can use as a guide when writing your letter:

Letter #1: Example of Leave of Absence Letter for Bereavement 

Hazel More 

123 Main St. 

San Diego, CA 56734


(043) 567 8901

March 21, 2022

Ziam Lim

HR Manager

One Company 

0453 Any Street

Berkeley, CA 1234

Dear Ms. Gomez,

This is a formal request for unpaid bereavement leave. As you are aware, my son became ill in September of last year and was bedridden for three months. My son, Jacob, died last week in the Berkeley Hospital while undergoing cancer treatment. I’d like to request bereavement leave so that I can return his body to my hometown and plan his funeral.

I was looking forward to traveling from the 2nd to the 12th of April. This leave will be replaced by our annual paid vacation, which lasts two weeks. The payment will cover travel expenses as well as the cost of moving the body.

I am still committed to my position and work, and I will do everything in my power to complete my assigned projects over the weekend. Grace Peters has agreed to take over my normal responsibilities while I’m away. I will also be available to work remotely and assist her in the event of any problems. If you need to get in touch with me during this time, you can do so via email at zianlim@email.com or by phone at 0123456789.


Zian Lim

Letter #2: Template of Leave of Absence Letter for Bereavement 

[Your name]


[City, Zip COde]

[Email Address]

[Phone number]


[Employer’s name]




[City, Zip Code]

Dear [Recipient’s name],

I’m sorry to inform you that my father died tragically and unexpectedly today. Given these circumstances, I respectfully request that you grant me five days of paid leave and three days of unpaid leave beginning today.

I’m leaving for home today, [date], and will be out of town until Monday, [date] for the funeral and other arrangements. Positively, I will be back in the office on [date]. I would appreciate your consideration in this matter because I will require this time to care for my family.

Please leave a message on my phone number if you need me. You can call me at [number].

Thank you for your thoughtfulness.


[Your name] 

Key Takeaways

  • If you decide to take bereavement leave, you must adhere to your company’s policies.
  • Some employers require employees to provide documentation to back up their request for bereavement leave.
  • When determining how much time off you need to take, consider your finances, your own mental health, and your responsibilities.
  • Employers typically grant bereavement leave for the death of immediate family members, but this can be extended to relatives or close friends depending on your responsibilities and the policy of your employer.