How To Write a Bereavement Leave Letter
by Jessica Fender
In times of global pandemic, it became challenging to pay a last in-person tribute to the ones you’ve lost. However, the current state of affairs with COVID-19 is getting better. Lifting of travel and gathering restrictions gives people a chance to be present at funerals and say the last goodbye properly.
When you lose a loved one, your whole world shifts. Even getting out of bed is difficult, not to mention going to work and being productive.
You need time to process your grief and take care of family arrangements. That’s why employees who suffer the death of an immediate family member can take a few days of paid leave or unpaid leave.
To get bereavement leave, you need to write a bereavement leave letter to the employer. This may not be what you want to do right now, but it’s the step you need to take to get the free days that you need.
The following guide will help you to properly write a bereavement leave letter.
Inform Yourself of Company’s Policies
Bereavement policies can differ depending on the company or organization you work for. Before you start writing the letter, familiarize yourself with your company’s policy.
You can contact your supervisor or an HR manager. Ask the person in charge to send you the company’s bereavement leave policy.
It is best if you read the policy yourself to make sure that you get everything right. There can be different types of leave, so pay attention to which one applies to your situation.
Inform yourself of how many days you are entitled to have. If there is a way to get some additional days off, collect information on what’s the procedure for such a request.
Choose an Appropriate Form
A bereavement leave letter can be presented as a physical letter, or it can be sent via email. How you’ll submit your request depends on the company.
Ask the recipient of the letter in what form you should send it. The form will also influence to some degree how you compose the letter.
If you present the letter in a physical form, the header needs to contain the following:
- The name of the company
- Company’s address
- The name of the person who will receive the letter (optional)
A letter that will be sent via email doesn’t need to contain this information. Instead, start the letter by addressing the person who’ll read it (e.g. Dear Mr. Smith). In case there is no specific recipient, but you are writing to the HR department, you can start the letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”
The letter should be written formally and politely. This document is a formal document that will be stored in your company’s files. Thus, you want to ensure that the letter is properly written.
You don’t need to think much about how you should write the letter. Simply consider it as yet another one of the business documents. With a respectful and formal tone, refer to your supervisor or HR department to explain your request.
If you are in a state of shock, and you can’t compose yourself to write the letter appropriately, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can ask a colleague, friend, or even Ultius writing service to help you write the letter. Their assistance can mean a lot.
Include the Necessary Information
Avoid any potential delays by stating all the necessary information in the letter.
There are certain details that a bereavement letter must contain. Those details are:
- The name of the family member who passed away and the date of their passing
- Your relationship with the deceased
- The reasons behind asking the bereavement leave (e.g. flying out to a funeral)
- How much bereavement leave you want to take
- How many unpaid additional days you want to take (optional)
- How and to whom you plan to delegate your responsibilities
- The date when you plan to return to work
- How can the company reach you if necessary
- Your contact information
Organize all these details in a comprehensible letter. You can separate the key information into different paragraphs. For example:
- Paragraph 1: Who passed away, when, and your relationship with the deceased
- Paragraph 2: How many days off you need and for what purposes
- Paragraph 3: When you plan to return and who will take over your responsibilities until then
Supply Additional Documents
In addition to the letter, you’ll probably need to supply other documentation that supports your bereavement leave request.
To ensure that the company grants your request as soon as possible, inform yourself of what kind of documents you need to collect. You can look into the bereavement leave policy as it should state what you need to supply for the bereavement leave process.
The required documents can be:
- Copy of the obituary
- Travel documents (if the funeral is out of town)
- A signed bereavement leave form
You can reinstate in the letter the documents that you will supply alongside it.
Some airlines offer special bereavement rates for the ones who lost a family member. If you need a last-minute ticket, such a flexible option would be of use.
Reread and Revise It
When you are done with writing, you want to read the letter once more. It is a formal document, and you want to make sure that there are no mistakes or missing information.
If you need a fast editing solution, you can use a free online proofreading tool Grammarly. However, you still want to read it yourself to ensure that you’ve said everything that needs to be said.
Also, you might want to ask a colleague or a friend to give it a look. In a state of shock, it can be difficult to comprehend what you have written. A friend or a colleague can do the check for you.
Hopefully, these guidelines will help you write a proper bereavement leave letter. During these difficult times, everything seems more challenging than usual. We hope to provide you with at least some relief by guiding you through the bereavement leave letter writing process.
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