A new report has highlighted a gap in workplace bereavement support, with more than one in three employees unaware of help offered by their employers.
Research by MetLife, shared exclusively with Benefits Expert, revealed that 31% of UK adults they did not know if they were entitled to provisions such time off, flexible working hours, or wider support and helplines following the death of a loved one.
The study also showed that while more than one in three (36%) respondents had lost a loved one in the past two years, nearly two in five (38%) respondents feel uncomfortable talking about death at work generally. Just 3% confided in their boss about it, while only 4% discussed it with a colleague.
The Last Word report found that of those experiencing a bereavement, most (39%) turned to their spouse or partner for support, followed by a friend or neighbour (23%). However, nearly a quarter (23%) also reported having nobody to help them through their grief.
Adrian Matthews, head of employee benefits at MetLife UK, said: “Grief is a very personal experience. It can bring a rollercoaster of emotions all while having to navigate practical decisions. The death of a loved one can be an incredibly challenging time and having nobody to turn to can make a devasting situation even more difficult.
“Nobody should have to grieve alone. Having support available can be a real lifeline, be it emotional or practical. It is likely employers do offer support that could benefit their workforce, but employees perhaps don’t know enough about it or where to access it. With simple and frequent communication to their workforce, employers can ensure employees feel supported in times of grief, have an outlet to turn to, and importantly, let them know they’re not alone.”