Experiencing personal bereavement is always painful, especially when it is unexpected.
The stigma surrounding grief and the lack of understanding of what happens in death means that many of us struggle to cope when faced with the inevitable challenges of life. is no exception.
My beloved father passed away after a relatively short illness when I had just returned to work from work to raise my children.
Returning to work was more difficult than expected. By the time he was in his early 40s, the kids were now in his teens so he was able to carve out time, but returning to the legal profession after being away for a few years wasn’t easy.
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Three months after I returned to work, my father’s partner contacted me. She had also just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to take care of her father. Without hesitation I took his father from my home in Northumberland to my home in Sussex.
When I worked part-time it quickly became clear that I couldn’t leave him alone and he traveled to the hospital for palliative care needs, so if I could keep my job, I would have to look for an outside job. I needed help. I was torn between caring for him full-time and staying at my hard-earned job.
He didn’t want me to quit my job and I was lucky enough to have a live-in caregiver. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people struggling to keep a job and care for their dying loved ones without help.
My father passed away about a year and a half after I moved in with him.
My employer gave me three days of charity leave. His funeral was on Friday and I went back to work on Monday, a week after he died. When I returned to work, my colleague and senior his partner were kind to me, but asked me not to. I find it easier to pull myself together when people don’t express sympathy.
In retrospect, it was clear that I needed more time while trying to maintain a “stiff upper lip”. I would have had
A Hospice UK study found that 57% of employees had been widowed in the last five years and more than 600 quit their jobs every day to care for elderly or disabled relatives. Yet her 1 in 5 manager is very confident in bereavement and support for those she manages.
We spend so much of our lives at work that we don’t have to hide our experience and timing of death from our colleagues. People deal with grief in different ways. It is important for employers to provide support with specific employee needs in mind. An open and flexible approach benefits employers as much as it does employees.
I don’t know if my previous employer had guidance at work on how to communicate or what to do if an employee was widowed.
Ensure that workplace guidance on death and dying is available so that both employees and employers have a clearer understanding of what to expect when faced with death, death or grief. is of value to employers.
Since becoming an MP in 2019, two members of my incredible team have experienced traumatic bereavement.
My instincts to give both of them as much time (and all the money) as they needed were right. I needed a space where I could be with family and friends and process my experiences without worrying about work. I didn’t hesitate to talk about their loss.
Efforts to empathize with their needs.
One returned to work after three weeks and the other decided not to go back to work and focus on his family.
Grief often hits us when we least expect it or when it can be triggered for no particular reason. It is important for employers to recognize this. When they return to work, employees may need some flexibility until they can get back in step.
Empathy and compassion are certainly needed, but how employers support employees caring for loved ones and grieving employees can make a difference not only to employees, but also to employers and workplaces. It can make a big difference overall.
When employees feel supported at work by their peers and employers, they are less likely to feel the need to quit or find a new employer to support their needs.
Dying Matters Awareness Week 2023 will run May 8-14 and this year’s theme will focus on the issue of death at work.
An opportunity to overcome the stigma of saying the wrong thing about death, or, worse, saying nothing or doing nothing.
Death happens to all of us and all of our loved ones, so being able to talk about death, dying and grief at work is important. I’m here. Whether you are an employer or an employee, you need to know how best to support each other.
Because if dying is important, so is work.
https://www.politics.co.uk/mp-comment/2023/05/09/if-dying-matters-then-it-matters-at-work-too/ With Dying Matters, it matters at work too.