Writing a letter about the death of a close family member can be hard. You may struggle to keep emotionally charged, unprofessional verbiage out of your letter. Time can act against you as you try to write this letter. For example, if you have to help plan the funeral arrangements, writing a letter to your boss may not be your top priority. If you send in a poorly constructed letter, your boss might think you’re lying about the death. This can lead to written warnings, unpaid leave, or cause for termination. Make the process easier by studying our bereavement letter to employer templates. The examples show you great ways to handle this delicate message. You can even use the writing tips to help you craft a professional bereavement letter.
Bereavement Letter to Employer Template
Cason Montgomery found out his mother passed away during the night. He needs to let the human resources manager, Phillipa Beck, know he will be going to the upcoming funeral. Read through the letter to see how he manages to keep the tone of the note professional even though he has recently learned about the loss.
Dear Phillipa Beck,
My mother, Hannah Montgomery, passed away on Tuesday night. The visitation and funeral services will take place next week Wednesday and Thursday respectively in Waco, Texas. According to the company’s bereavement policy, I have four days of paid leave I can use around the time of my mother’s funeral. I talked with Justin Haug, my direct supervisor, and he has approved the use of additional vacation days. This will allow me to travel to my father’s house and spend adequate time with my family during this difficult time.
Thanks to the bereavement leave and vacation days I have available, I can spend today finishing up a few last-minute projects that I need to complete before I leave. My time away starts tomorrow, Thursday, August 2nd. I will return to work Monday, August 13th.
I know how busy the office has been lately, so I wanted to make sure everything was able to run smoothly while I am away. Casey and Brian have agreed to help cover my workload over the next week, so my absence won’t affect any of our customers.
If you have any questions for me, please contact me via telephone at 555-342-9989 or email at cason.montgomery@anymail.
How To Write a Bereavement Letter to Your Employer
This type of letter acts as proof that you informed your employer about a death in your family. Death can be a sensitive subject, so it’s important you take the time to write a professional-sounding note. This letter should also give your boss insight into the logistics of your leave.
As you sit down to write a bereavement letter, you need to include more information than the fact that someone in your family died. First, discuss who died and the relation you have to that person. Some companies may only allow paid leave for someone who directly related to you, which is why you need to mention the relationship.
Next, point out how long you plan on being away. In the bereavement letter to employer template, Cason pointed out his company’s policy of giving employees four days of paid leave. Referring directly to this policy shows your boss you understand the restrictions of the leave. Be sure to specifically mention the dates you plan on being gone for the funeral.
If you talked to someone in person, mention his or her name. It’s usually a good idea to work out the details of your leave with a boss or direct supervisor before simply leaving. After that, talk about any arrangements you made with coworkers or clients. Your employer may not expect you to find a coworker to cover your shifts, but taking this extra step exudes professionalism.
Finally, close your letter by letting your boss know how he or she can contact you while you’re gone. Remaining reachable makes it easier for your employer to handle your unexpected absence.
What To Avoid in Your Bereavement Letter to Your Employer
As you sit down to write your bereavement letter, you need to avoid certain topics to ensure your note remains appropriate for the workplace. Even though you’re going through a potentially emotional loss, you need to avoid being too personal in your letter. For example, you do not need to discuss the specific details of how your family member died. Instead, simply mention who died and when the death happened. Always keep your audience in mind. This means only sharing information your boss needs to know.
Traumatic events, like the death of a close family member, can cause some people to struggle at work. If you let your emotions get the best of you while writing your letter, your boss may worry you won’t be able to jump back into things after the funeral. Make it clear you’re still ready for work by planning ahead for your absence. If possible, ask coworkers to cover for you on projects or take shifts you’ll miss.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Bereavement Letter to Your Employer
After you send a letter informing your boss of a death in your family, you need to follow up on the subject. This follow-up gives you the chance to make sure your boss has approved your leave. If possible, talk with your boss in person before leaving for the funeral. However, if you cannot make this happen, you have other options. You can send an email to your employer to make sure he or she has all the needed information related to your absence. Some companies may need additional proof of a death, such as a program from a funeral or a death certificate. Ask the human resources department at your company if you’ll need to bring back any additional documentation to have your bereavement approved.
Top 5 Bereavement Letter to Employer Writing Takeaways
1. Keep the tone professional
Even though the subject of this letter is extremely personal, you should still remain as work-appropriate as possible. This means avoiding emotionally charged language.
2. Only include relevant details
Your boss does not need to know how your loved one died. In fact, your employer only needs to know a few details, such as who died, when he or she died, when the funeral service is, how long you plan on being gone, and who you talked to about your absence.
3. Be specific about when you’ll be away
Because this letter acts as written proof of your bereavement, you need to be as specific as possible. Including the actual dates reduces the chances of any misunderstandings between you and your boss.
4. Lay out a plan
When an emergency takes you away from work, you should try to make your absence as easy as possible. You can do this by giving your employer ideas on handling the smaller workforce. For example, letting your boss know your coworkers have agreed to help cover for you gives him or her an idea of who will take over your responsibilities while you’re away.
5. Include contact information
You might not want your work to contact you while you’re grieving, but sometimes it’s necessary. For example, your human resources manager may need to ask you to bring proof of the funeral back to work. Including contact information shows your boss you understand how important your job is.