Sunday, March 20, 2011

How Much Time Off Should Bereave Parents Get

Bill Stewardson, from England, whose son, Ryan, was killed in action in Afghanistan, was told by his boss he had one day to grieve. Then he had to come back to work. He was stunned.

“No one can grieve in one day,” he said. Bereavement time in his company and many others is left up to the discretion of the bosses. In most cases, unless they understand how a child’s death affects parents, relatives and friends, the bosses can not comprehend what has happened and therefore, never think to give a person time to grieve.

Stewardson is now on a campaign to put minimum standards in place for workers. He wants a law for the bereaved to be able grieve properly and not have to go back to work before they are ready. He hopes the rules will apply to both soldier and everyone else.

What would be a reasonable time? I think perhaps a minimum of a week, but more practically, two weeks. There are, of course, some bosses who will give as much time as needed, but these people are rare. I know of a few mothers who were off work for months; they could hardly function on a day to day basis. Looking at both sides, certainly, it would not be of help in the workplace if a worker is in such a condition. On the other hand, a worker could take advantage of the boss by taking more time than needed, and the boss could get angry, leading to other problems.

If there were a standard law for everyone to follow, it would definitely help in determining when a worker needs to return to the workplace.

Tell me what your opinion is on this controversial topic.


  1. OMG I don't think I could even return after two weeks. It's been almost 22 months and I wouldn't be ready now. But that's me. I think the Family Medical Leave Act should cover this in the case of child loss.

    Everyone grieves differently, some parents might want to return right away but I wanted (still do) to hide away. I am on SSDI so I guess I have the poorly paid luxury (LOL) of doing so.

  2. Hello, My name is Anthony and am touched by your words. I too have lost a childe. He lived for only 9 days. I too have written about the loss in my blog, "working on a dream" If you are interested the site is,
    I share my story on my blog I hope it helps...