Writing a bereavement leave letter is never an easy task. It requires you to focus on professionalism and clear communication during a time that is incredibly stressful and emotionally tumultuous. When a loved one has passed, a lot falls on your plate, from funeral arrangements to announcements and notifications, even the selection of speakers at the service. This can make it difficult to focus and to communicate clearly and professionally, causing static at work during a sensitive time. That’s why it can be helpful to model your request on bereavement leave letter templates like these. They can help you stay focused as you write, so your communication stays clearer and your transition back to work after your leave happens smoothly.Bereavement Leave Letter Template
Bereavement Leave Letter Template
Below you will find a letter from Lynn Monday, who just learned that her mother passed away. She needs to notify her boss that she will be using the company’s bereavement leave to take care of her responsibilities while grieving. This emotional disturbance and sudden responsibility does not cause her to break the professional tone or focus of her letter, though.
I must regretfully request emergency bereavement leave effective immediately and continuing for the next three days. Under normal circumstances, I would not make demands on such short notice, but as you realize, the nature of emergencies is that they are not predictable and do not lend themselves easily to advance planning.
I just received notification that my mother passed away in her sleep last night at the nursing home where she has resided for the last five years. Her passing happened unexpectedly, and while there are arrangements in place, a family member must be free to oversee them. As her only child, that responsibility falls to me.
I anticipate having the service on Thursday, with Friday as a day for the family to come together to grieve. Granting my leave immediately means providing me with the rest of the day to make notifications and tomorrow to finalize arrangements before the day of the service. I anticipate returning at the beginning of the next work week, and if that changes, I take responsibility for notifying human resources about my need to use personal leave time to extend my time off.
Thank you for your consideration during this difficult time.
How To Write a Bereavement Leave Letter
The bereavement leave letter remains difficult no matter how sensitive one’s employer tries to be, because it is still a formal professional communication that demands attention during an emotionally tying time. It demands disclosure of your circumstances, but a well-crafted bereavement leave request involves notification without getting bogged down in details. Coworkers and employer do not want to pry, but they do need to understand the basics of your request.
That means you should follow the same approach the bereavement leave letter template demonstrates. Begin with a simple notification of the difficulty of the issue and a statement of your need. Then, in one or two paragraphs, outline the nature of your commitment in this situation.
The more directly involved you find yourself in the planning of the funeral arrangements, the more time you need to take to make sure you handle everything while taking the personal time you need to grieve. Spare the details, and focus on what you need and when you will be back. If you are requesting a long leave, remind your employer of each of the responsibilities you must discharge before returning to work.
Close with a strong thank you, and acknowledge the support that company bereavement policies provide. If you are going to need more time than your company usually allows for bereavement or if there is a chance you may need to extend your leave, make sure you say so. In some situations, your employer may grant you the time even without accumulated paid time off to spend. You never know unless you ask.
What To Avoid in Your Bereavement Leave Letter
When it comes to bereavement leave letters, the main danger is disclosing too much personal information about the situation. It’s important that your employer understand your relationship to the deceased and the responsibilities you face during this time, especially since bereavement constitutes an emergency and a loss at the same time. Focus on those details that communicate your departure and return schedule, your relationship, and your commitments.
Another issue with bereavement leave request letters tends to be a lack of detail with regard to the length of time off. This issue happens more when you are the party responsible for organizing the funeral gathering and notifying the rest of the deceased’s family and loved ones. If you are not absolutely sure about your return time, your employer needs to know that in the most respectful terms possible.
If you need extra time off, consider a request to use paid leave time after the bereavement leave, or at least a request for additional unpaid time off. Follow the format in the leave letter template to make sure you balance professionalism with a clear statement of need.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Bereavement Leave Letter
Most employers don’t expect to see a follow-up to a bereavement leave request if that request is within the company’s regularly prescribed guidelines for leave. Usually, a clear policy in the employee manual exists for the purpose of shortening the notification process and facilitating the employee’s need to depart. That’s because deaths are typically unexpected, so requiring a lengthy approval process for leave takes up time that you need to spend on other duties.
If you are requesting extra time or your workplace does not have a clear policy, then you will want to send a follow-up after you receive a communication from your employer about your request. Under those circumstances, you may need to negotiate your return time. Try to focus on clarity in your communication, and remember to emphasize the steps you need to take before a return to work becomes possible.
Top 5 Bereavement Leave Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Acknowledge the inconvenience and surprise
Employers never look to make things difficult when you have to take bereavement leave, but it helps to remind them that the situation’s unplanned nature affects everyone and that you appreciate their help with your situation. This primes the reader to view him or herself as a person you trust and feel supported by.
2. State the nature of your loss clearly
Bereavement requests are typically granted, but the employee must demonstrate that the request is reasonable. That means stating your relationship to the deceased before asking for leave. The closer the family member and the more responsibility you face, the more reasonable a lengthy leave time request becomes.
3. Spare the details about the passing
Your employer needs to know why you left work and what you plan to accomplish before you return, but the personal circumstances of your loved one’s passing are unnecessary. Leave them out to focus on the business of the letter so you can spare your manager or employer any unnecessary emotional disturbance when you make the request. You never know who has also been through difficult times.
4. Clarify your plan for a return to duties
No one feels surprised when grieving takes an unconventional turn, but your responsibilities mean you must communicate changes to your situation. Make sure you state any ambiguities about your return.
5. Close with a thanks
Remember to thank your employer for assistance handling the situation, and for the policies that support your leave.