Coronavirus affects many people and businesses across the UK. And because of the infectivity of the virus, you may find that employees in your company either had the virus themselves or suffered a loss as a result.
It’s more important than ever to help your employees do this, as this may have been a shock and they couldn’t say goodbye. This article provides useful support and links to where to get additional information and help for you, your company, and your employees.
Make sure you’ve checked your grief policy
For some smaller companies, this may not have been what you previously considered. However, if there is a policy, you can describe in detail how the process works, how to deal with absence, what support you offer and how you pay. You need to check this in the light of COVID-19. If you don’t have a policy, new legal requirements automatically apply.
Provide immediate support
Everyone is affected by grief differently, and therefore the level of support an employee needs varies from person to person. Make sure your company has support so that individuals can speak about their situation if they so choose. Point to external resources such as advice and hotlines – it might be worth considering an employee benefit program.
They have to understand whether they are happy when colleagues are made aware of their situation or whether they want to keep it private.
If the employee has lost a family member or loved one, consider offering a compassionate vacation. There is no compassionate leave in the UK. You must therefore review your company policies to determine how much time you normally have and whether this is paid vacation. It is important to consider how much time it takes them to mourn and arrange mourning rituals.
Manage a return to work
It is advisable that you work with the employee to agree on a plan to return to work. Depending on the person, a gradual return to work may be appropriate, for others they like to return as usual. In any case, it is just as important that they feel supported in the short and long term as the individual navigates through the first year of the anniversary.
There is plenty of support for both businesses and individuals, especially COVID-19 and the impact it has on people’s lives. Below are some useful links:
The government website has a section on “support when someone dies”
Cruse bereavement care offers advice, guidance and support for bereaved victims
The National Mourning Partnership The COVID-19 Hub provides all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with a platform for related practical advice, support and information
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personal and Development) has a number of guides and resources for companies.
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