We spend 70 percent of our time at work so as a result our colleagues at work become our second family.  When a death of a parent occurs, it is that second family that steps up during that time and also gives support. 

Your colleagues in your work family take on the load so that the individual can be with their family during that time.  It allows for the necessary grieving and healing process so the individual can return to work with their head back in the game.

Most companies have policies that offer employees support during this time. If this is a long illness the employee might need time before losing their parent or loved one.  This is a very personal and traumatic time so there is a balance of how much support that you give without being intrusive.

The companies that handle this the best will have HR involved, who will have insight into how to best help that employee during this time.  By knowing the current situation with the employee HR will be able to suggest things. Some people choose to handle this type of situation differently and immerse their self in work. While they may think they are handling the situation well it is affecting their performance and relationships at work.  While there may be a policy in place this is the time where companies that handle this well know that sometimes there won’t be any policy for the best course of action.  This is where the Human comes out in Human Resources.

While a bereavement policy may only allow for a certain amount of time off there may be other alternatives that allow that employee to take additional time.  Some companies offer ETO (Extended Time Off) and this allows employees to take time off to care for a sick parent under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) with pay.  This allows employees to spend time with the ill parent. 

Finding out from that employee what they need during this time is very important because the company can really support in a way that is needed. If the employee is providing the primary care there are often many things that need to occur after the death of the parent. 

When a situation such as this occurs, the best thing the company can do is provide support so that the employee can put their focus on their family without worry about the job.  This demonstrates care, concern and provides a culture where employees realize that they do have support outside of their biological family.

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