Re: Bereaved


I heard that if your cubicle-mate kills themself you get an automatic raise.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:27 PM
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I suspect companies veer away from managerial discretion for fear of complaints when, say, one manager is more lenient than another or -- worse -- one manager is more lenient with one person than another. If I'm not mistaken, the formal "bereavement policy" for someone in my position is "that's what your personal days are for." But I also assume that valued employees do get a bit more flexibility as needed. (E.g., I was bereaving life for the last year or so, and my firm has been very forgiving of my lapses in hours. I do try to remind myself of this fact frequently when I'm steaming at other forces within the firm...)

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:27 PM
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One of the really nice things about academia, moreso if you are primarily a researcher and don't have too much teaching scheduled, is that if you need a few days off you can just go, for the most part. There are formal policies for this sort of thing most places, I'm sure. But I've never seen it to be a problem. Really the only difficulty is finding people to cover classes etc.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:28 PM
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Wow, that sucks. The nice thing about working somewhere small is that the bosses can actually be pretty consistent with how they treat people. It's a little weird, though, because my workplace has no vacation policy, no sick policy, no bereavement policy. On the one hand, it's nice, because there are no hard-and-fast rules, but on the other hand, it's scary asking for vacation, because I feel like I'm not entitled to it. So I've given myself an arbitrary three weeks of vacation and am going to try and stick to that. That seems reasonable, right?

Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:31 PM
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4: Immensely reasonable.

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:33 PM
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Ah, the Siver Line. Sorry, Silver Ine. Er, that is, Ilver Line:

To understand how the reality is likely to differ from the fantasy sold to the public, we can look at how the Silver Line currently functions, and how the vision of the planners has given way to a very different reality on the ground. Phases I and II
comprise what is known officially as "Bus Rapid Transit", but using that term in the presence of anyone who is actually uses the Silver Line on a regular basis is likely to make them question whether or not you've actually taken a journey what the MBTA proclaims to provide "equal or better service" than the Washington Street Elevated it replaced. An 8 minute ride on the regularly-arriving El has turned into a 20 minute trip through traffic, the dedicated bus lanes are regularly filled with double-parkers, and the signs intended to provide real-time information on the arrival time of the next bus simply indicate when the next bus is scheduled. Buses are routinely overcrowded and often bunched together despite the complex, and expensive GPS network intended to prevent such occurrences.

It's a transit miracle!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:35 PM
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4: That sounds reasonable, yes.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:35 PM
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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:37 PM
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I think I'd want a policy written down that guaranteed a minimum, but I'd also want a situation where managers and supervisors could exercise some discretion to add on to it.

(Ideally, of course, everyone involved would be mature adults with no need to make it a policy, but then not only would we be riding ponies to work, we'd never need bereavement days because no one would ever die.)

Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:38 PM
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My employer differentiates between immediate family (generously defined; leave of "up to" five days, plus more at the discretion of management), and family other than immediate family (two days). S.O. is considered immediate family if you cohabitate (benefits policies are generally designed to be as gay-friendly as the law permits).

******* (the 'Company') provides paid time off in the event of a death of a member of an employee's immediate family or of a person living in the employee's home.

For purposes of this guide, the employee's immediate family is defined as a spouse, child, grandchild, brother or sister, brother or sister in-law, parent or parent-in-law, grandparent or grandparent-in-law, a domestic partner, a person who is legally acting in one of the above capacities, or another relative living in the employee's residence.

A Bereavement Leave of up to five days to attend funeral and burial services may be granted for a death of an immediate family member. If distant travel is required, the leave may be extended appropriately. Two days off with pay will be granted for the death of a relative other than a member of the immediate family, such as a cousin, aunt or uncle, or aunt or uncle-in-law.
In the event of the death of a friend or a more distant relative, employees may take vacation days or floating holidays, with office-head approval.
(If country law or employment contracts require a longer period of leave or some reimbursement of travel expenses, those laws and/or contracts will supersede this policy.)

Posted by: Seekrit dude | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:40 PM
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My workplace is small but nevertheless has a formal policy:

Bereavement. In the event of a death in your immediate family or household, you may receive up to 3 days additional paid time off. The following relatives are considered immediate family: spouse, domestic partner, children, stepchildren, your or your spouse's parents, grandparents, sisters, and brothers.

In reality I suspect the management would be a bit more flexible than that; sick time is policy is just "don't come in sick", more or less.

Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 1:42 PM
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We have an informal time-off system like m. leblanc, but it's a bigger company so everyone can be covered for fairly easily. You would just ask, and the manager will almost certainly give you the time unless you ask for something wholely unreasonable. I don't know any managers here who would be big enough dicks to mentally tally that time in the vacation pile, either, so it wouldn't count against you when it comes time to take days off for illness or fun.

Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:03 PM
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My workplace is very similar to Nathan Williams's. Two years ago I learned no exceptions for great-grandparents are granted.

Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:17 PM
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All full-time and 3/4-time employees are eligible to take bereavement leave. In the event of a death in the employees immediate family, a leave of absence of up to three days with pay will be granted. Days of Bereavement Leave must be taken consecutively within a reasonable time of the day of the death or day of the funeral and may not be split or postponed. Employees who wish to take advantage of the Bereavement Leave policy for the death of a domestic partner must have on file in Human Resources the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership and the additional [Company Name] Certification of Domestic Partnership.

For this purpose, immediate family is defined as:

* Spouse or Domestic Partner
* Child or Step-child
* Parents (including in-laws), step-parents
* Siblings (including in-laws), step-siblings
* Grandparents
* Grandchildren

Employees should make their supervisor aware of their situation. In turn, the supervisor should notify Human Resources of the reason and length of the employees absence.

Upon returning to work, the employee must record his or her absence as Bereavement Leave on his or her time sheet. Employees may also use accumulated PTO or Serious Illness Leave (SIL) to attend to matters and may request in writing additional unpaid time off.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:38 PM
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We get three paid days for a "close relative", defined as in 14.

Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:46 PM
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14: Your child dies, and you get up to three whole days off? Such generosity.

When I got shit-canned by the alternative weekly whose named shall go unmentioned, evidence of my insubordination included my telling my editor that I would be needing some time off to visit my father, who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Because, you see, I should have asked rather than told. I never got to find out about the bereavement policy.

Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:46 PM
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I would assume time off for the death of a parent is greater than for the death of anyone else because with a parent, you will almost certainly have to do some estate work. Details will vary depending on number of siblings and size of estate and lots more, but even if your other parent is surviving, there will probably be a lot of meetings with lawyers and stuff that probably aren't needed for a sibling or cousin.

Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:49 PM
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Also, maybe this is callous or overgeneralizing (and it does kind of contradict my 17, a little), but I'm not sure how much time off one would need. I'm lucky enough that I've never had to deal with the death of someone closer to me than a grandparent who lived a thousand miles away, but when I am dealing with something really difficult emotionally, too much free time is bad. Three days would be great to have time to myself and with family, and five days might not quite be enough if I'm the person trying to take care of all the arrangements, but a week or more outside my usual routine while dealing with that kind of loss would be hell.

I suppose the simple answer is to make it flexible, but then you open the door to complaints about favoritism, or the real thing.

Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:57 PM
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4- Companies that have no formal vacation policy love it because they don't have to carry a liability of unused time. Take as much as you want and get rid of the guilt, M.

I think a lot of people don't realize that in the US, companies are not obligated to pay any paid at all. Not vacation, sick, personal, maternal or severance. Family values, indeed.

Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 2:58 PM
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I got two full weeks off with pay, which was extremely generous given that I don't get paid sick leave or vacation time (they basically treat me like a temp).

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 3:00 PM
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18 - you might be surprised at how you feel, depending on who it is who died, how it happened, etc. i found myself quite unable to concentrate for a while - just literally not able to do things like work.

and then, began feeling more able, later. but that took more than 5 days. (!)

Posted by: mrmf | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 3:30 PM
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I thought the two weeks I got was just about the right amount of time to deal with my dad's death. I was pretty out of it for most of that time, and I was glad to be able to just spend time with my mom and sister, but by the end of it I was feeling like I really needed to go back to doing something to take my mind off of it, so I was happy to go back to work.

As for the estate issue, my experience is that my mom dealt with all that stuff mostly by herself. I suspect in most cases it only really becomes an issue for the children when the second parent dies.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 3:35 PM
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Three days for immediate family where I work. Not enough when someone dies suddenly, shortly before Easter (Catholics cannot have funeral masses take place from Thursday through Sunday during that week).

Posted by: grieving | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 4:26 PM
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We have a formal bereavement policy at the Huge But Well-Managed Multinational, but there's also significant room for management discretion. Also, I think we can "donate" unused PTO days to people who need more, although I have never seen a situation where that has been an issue. In fact, there was a fellow who worked there for a couple of years who SIGNIFICANTLY underperformed. He was good for a water-cooler chat, but little else. Then, sadly, his adult daughter committed suicide, and he was told to take all the time he needed. I think he came back after 3 or 4 weeks, and they were nice enough not to drop the hammer for like 6 months after that. (He was already on notice to clean up his act when his family suffered their loss.)

I was a little irritated when one of my peers took five whole days to bury his grandparent who had died in Iowa. Seriously, I'm sorry for his loss, but when my last grandparent died in the next state over, I worked the day before and the day after the funeral.

Standing on the 2nd floor deck and looking out over the city tonight, I was possessed by an overwhelming sense of melancholy. What's the point, really? Is our little island of resistance meaningful in the long run? Especially with all the compromises we have to make? But in ~120,000 years (the merest eyeblink of geologic time) all this shite will have been buried under a mile of ice, leaving nothing recognizable of all the pain and oppression that these vainglorious edifices represent.

Nu, let the dead bury the dead. Fight for your right to party and party for your right to fight!

Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 7:26 PM
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I'm slightly bitter that I had to take a week of vacation when a s-i-l died because she wasn't a close enough relative to trigger the firm's 3-day bereavement leave policy. OTOH they would probably have made an exception if I'd pushed, and I'm out of there now anyway, and nobody squawked at all about my pretty much dropping everything and disappearing when I got the call, so I blame life for my bitterness, not the firm.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 8:07 PM
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A guy who works for my husband at Big Insurance Company was out for 4 weeks recently when his 4 month old baby died of SIDS. They told him to take as much time as he needed. They considered that he took 1 week of the standard bereavement leave and overlooked the other 3 weeks.

I work part-time at the local library and don't even know what the policy is. It's small enough that when my dad died recently, I just called in and said I'd be out for a week and it was no big deal.

Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 10:07 PM
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Once upon a time when i was a key employee and also working from home due to some esoteric cost-saving scheme plus not enough space for employees that needed to stay in-house, I was given a fairly free rein to deal with helping mom help my father pass from terminal cancer.

It mostly happened at a time of year when we had intermittent rather than frantic workload, and I was already working from home.

It was a great blessing and the only 'official' time I had to take off was the actual funeral, which was in Oklahoma.

Times changed, I got a new boss who decided I was an expensive employee and I got laid off. They're still trying to hire 'me' from the ads I've seen.

Posted by: Paula Helm Murray | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 11:27 PM
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