Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

We should be better by now at talking about grief in the workplace

Estate PlanningAlthough the mortality rate is 100%, many employees fear discussing grief and loss in the workplace. A recent study suggests that nearly a quarter of employees are uncomfortable approaching their managers about the issue. Some of this may be due to companies traditionally failing at accommodating grief.

Experts advocate taking up to 20 days off of work, yet most US companies provide just a fraction of that. The average bereavement policy is somewhere between 1-5 days. In addition, most Americans take unpaid time off after experiencing a loss.

“Employers know how much money and energy they put into employee engagement. And yet too often they ignore one of the biggest opportunities for engagement that results in true work loyalty: supporting employees through loss,” writes David Kessler, a workplace grief specialist and author of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.

Experts also recommend ways to support peers through the grieving process by letting colleagues know they have people in their corner who value them as team members and are willing to pick up the slack if necessary. In contrast, some may find comfort in staying busy and want to carry on as usual. 

For more information see Gabriela Riccardi “We should be better by now at talking about grief in the workplace” Quartz, February 22, 2023.

Special thanks to Naomi R. Cahn (University of Virginia School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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