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Helping staff with bereavement leave

It is always a difficult time after a loved one dies, which is why there are set entitlements for staff to take bereavement leave.

Employees are also entitled to bereavement leave if they have a miscarriage or stillbirth – and, in some circumstances, if they’re directly affected by another person’s miscarriage or stillbirth.

If you want to offer more than the mandatory bereavement support to your employees, you can also let them take more leave than they’re legally entitled to – either as annual leave or unpaid leave.

What you must do

After an employee has been working for you for six months, they're entitled to:

  • three days' bereavement leave following the death of their:

    • child
    • grandchild
    • grandparent
    • parent
    • partner
    • partner's parent, or
    • sibling.
  • one day's bereavement leave on the death of a person outside the immediate family — this leave is decided case-by-case at your discretion.
  • three days’ bereavement leave if the employee has a miscarriage or a stillbirth
  • three days’ bereavement leave if another person has a miscarriage or stillbirth and the employee:

    • is the person’s partner
    • is the person’s former partner and would have been a biological parent
    • had agreed to be the primary carer (eg through a formal adoption or whangai arrangement)
    • is the partner of  a person who had agreed to be the primary carer.

They're allowed to take their bereavement leave at any time and for any reason that relates to the death or loss. This also applies to casual workers, if after six months, they have worked: an average of at least 10 hours a week and at least one hour a week or 40 hours a month.

What you could do

You could also:

  • offer more bereavement leave in your employees’ agreements
  • offer bereavement leave to employees before they’ve been working for you for six months
  • let employees take a longer period of leave, for example, as paid special leave, or (with the employee’s agreement) as unpaid leave or annual leave.

Bereavement leave(external link) — Employment New Zealand

If you have more questions about holidays and leave

If you have more questions about holidays and leave

Get in touch with Employment New Zealand.

Contact us(external link) — Employment New Zealand

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