Let’s talk about Walmart’s Bereavement Policy; Losing an immediate family member or friend can affect someone’s life in more ways than anyone could imagine until it happens, whether it is sudden or not.
94% of U.S employers offer paid bereavement leave. But unfortunately, very few countries have formal laws for bereavement leave. Only one US state, Oregon, has a law in place that requires companies to give their employees bereavement leave.
First off, what is a bereavement policy?
A bereavement policy is a policy set in place by companies that allow employees paid and unpaid time off when an immediate family member, relative, or friend, sadly passes away.
This policy makes it possible for an employee to take time off without using their regular leave, although, it’s not required for companies to do.
Federal labor laws in the US do not require employers to even offer it. But good thing is, most employers do offer it, though only a limited amount of days.
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Walmart Bereavement Policy;
So what is Walmart’s policy specifically?
Walmart allows employees to take up to three days if somebody in their immediate family passes away. Supervisors might also grant leave due to the death of other relatives or loved ones, and thankfully employees will still be paid for this time off as well.
In some circumstances, longer periods of leave are also possible. Although, this leave may not necessarily be paid, and depends solely on the supervisors.
Your supervisor may need some things from you to consider your application for leave. They will need to know your relationship to the deceased, the distance that you may have to travel for a wake, funeral, or any related event, the amount of time you have taken off in that last 12 months if applicable, and the anticipated impact of your absence on the company.
This does not stretch to temporary employees, so with that, you might need to reach out for what you’ll have to do specifically.
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But what is an immediate family in the eyes of Walmart?
According to Walmart’s policy specifically, this includes by birth, adoption, marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union.
Immediate family includes your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, mothers and fathers-in-law, sons and daughters-in-law, and brothers and sisters-in-law.
Also, this could be anyone that the employee lives with. And the guidelines state that at the manager’s discretion, leave can also be granted for other individuals’ deaths.
But still, standard bereavement leave at Walmart is a maximum of three days. Employees can apply for a Personal Leave of Absence if they need more than just three days.
Unlike the standard three days though, these longer leaves aren’t paid the same. Workers may have to use up any paid time odd that they have earned over their time working for the company if they don’t want to miss out on pay during this time.
But do you have show proof in order to get bereavement leave?
Asking for proof can be uncomfortable and seen as insensitive, but it is solely up to your company’s policy if they want to do that.
They have the right to ask for an employee to provide some kind of documentation or proof of the death to take this leave. But if a company wants to do this, then hopefully they approach it with utmost respect and compassion.
This documentation could be an obituary, funeral program, or prayer card. But employers could also simply ask for the name of the deceased, date of death, city of death, or your relationship to the deceased.
That’s usually enough for the company to verify the death. But this fully depends on the company. Walmart doesn’t seem to require proof for at least the maximum of three days of paid leave.
Thankfully, bereavement leave will not count against the time taken for vacation or sickness, it is completely separate.
A quick google search can show you most of the same policy in regards to other big companies.
As for Walmart’s competitor, Target, has the same amount of three days. And it seems you have to work at least 90 days to be eligible for the bereavement policy.
Other big companies like Amazon offer three days as well, while Starbucks offers two.
It seems that many of these companies don’t account for the feeling of endless things that go into a family member’s death. Facebook increased their bereavement time to 20 days.
And Google has its own policy for when a spouse or domestic partner dies. Their widow/widower receives 50% of their late partner’s salary for ten years after the fact.
Depending on religion and culture, as well as other things, there is a whole list of things to be done after someone dies.
If you are the executor of the estate, you are responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes as laid out in their will. There’s no way to gauge how long that could take.
Along with that, there is usually a wake, a funeral which can include burial or cremation arrangements, and any number of other family gatherings.
There is travel, not only with the employee but other family members. Family needs to be together during these hard times, which can be harder with all of the other details that go into it.
The amount of work can surprise people. Where people die, they leave behind a life that needs to be closed out. Their funeral must be planned, bank accounts closed, pets re-homed, any children taken care of, final bills paid, etc.
Depending on your relationship with the deceased person, all of the personal and legal details may fall on you. And you have to do all of these tasks while also grieving a loved one. None of it is easy.
For example, within Italian families, there is typically a wake, funeral, after party. Many people need a long time to grieve, together as a family, and alone, even after all is said and done with the official ceremonies.
Three days just doesn’t seem enough for all that goes into it. Worrying about your job is just another stressor to add to someone’s list.
Grieving has no time limit, one might feel better in 6-8 weeks, but there is no guarantee. And going to any job could be really hard, even after that time period.
Other countries hold the same policies, though they differ. Some examples: In Australia, they grant 2 days, Brazil can grant two to five days, and Canada may only grant two days of unpaid days a year.
Most seem to go with 2-even 5 days depending on the employee and who has died. This could depend on the responsibilities the employees have after that particular family member’s death.
Not all employees are granted leave because it can be seen as professional misconduct of professional duty to do so, which could be a nightmare on top of everything else the employee is going through.
Losing someone in any way close to you is something unimaginable. One can only hope the company you work for gives you enough time to do all that goes into the death of a family member/loved one, plus time for appropriate grieving.
About Jackie Davies
I am Jackie D *As my friends call me :)* I am a lover of all things outdoors and appreciate the little beautiful things life brings my way.