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Compassionate Leave

Compassionate leave is paid leave that allows an employee time off to deal with their personal distress and related practical arrangements, primarily, but not limited to, when a member of their family dies. It can also apply in instances of serious illness or injury.

The University of Reading acknowledges that bereavement and serious illness or injury impacts all individuals differently and the guidelines below are intended to show the minimum paid leave an employee is entitled to in different circumstances. It is acknowledged that not all employees will need to take the full allowance, and some employees will need additional time, depending on their relationship with the person and the circumstances of the death, illness or injury.

Compassionate leave can be granted by the Line Manager in the event of the death, serious illness or injury of an immediate relative or family member, the number of days is subject to the particular circumstances but is normally 3 days.

In cases where the circumstances involve the death of a child (and this includes children in respect of whom the employee is the adoptive parent and legal guardians and carers.), please refer to the Parental Bereavement Leave procedure for the statutory entitlement of leave.

One days’ leave can be granted on the death of wider family members to facilitate attendance at the funeral.

In exceptional circumstances, leave may be granted on the death of someone outside the immediate family. These circumstances would include (but are not limited to) situations where the employee is responsible for funeral arrangements or has to travel abroad to attend the funeral. An employee should notify their line manager of their need to take leave as soon as possible or, at latest, on the first day of absence. In exceptional circumstances, applications for leave will be considered after the first day of absence. Line managers have the right to exercise discretion in exceptional circumstances as outlined above. Leave days do not have to be taken consecutively.

Line managers will check whether the employee’s religion or culture requires them to observe any particular practices or make special arrangements which would necessitate them being off work at a particular time. Employees should not assume that their line manager is aware of any such requirements and should draw this to their line manager’s attention as soon as possible.

Line managers who are unsure of how to respond to a bereaved employee from a different culture should ask the bereaved employee about what is appropriate.

Once the agreements are made, Compassionate Leave is booked via Employee Self Service. There is a Reference Guide to booking Compassionate leave. 


Other support

In addition to Compassionate Leave, an employee may wish to consider options such as requesting unpaid leave or annual leave in order to extend their period of absence. This should be discussed and agreed with their Line Manager.

The University also provides an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which is an independent, free, confidential support and counselling service called Confidential Care. This is a telephone service that can be accessed at any time of the day or night and is available 365 days of the year.