Setting a statutory amount of compassionate leave for all employees.

Setting a statutory amount of compassionate leave for all employees.

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Cariad Fiddy started this petition to Meg Hillier

Currently, employees have statutory sick pay and parental bereavement. Both of which carry a fixed minimum amount of paid time off that employers must abide by. Any more time off is then at the discretion of the said employer. 

In the case of bereavement other than the previously mentioned 'parental bereavement (in which parents are given a minimum of ___ days off when a child under 18 passes away or a stillborn birth after 24 weeks occurs), there is no legal minimum amount of time off an employee is required to provide. 

Paid and unpaid compassionate leave is currently at your employee's discretion. It is therefore your responsibility to raise how much time off you need to take with your employer. The desired amount of time might not be possible due to work commitments or lack of staff to cover you. The amount of time you've been with your employer, your performance and your age may also be taken into consideration when making this decision leaving some employees extremely vulnerable during a time of already high distress and vulnerability. 

Even the most well-intentioned employers might tell an employee to ''take as much time as you need'' without perhaps considering the environment that the employee finds themself in. Though wanting a full week off to mourn the loss of a friend or parent, the employee may not feel able to ask for this for fear of missing out on a promotion, being demoted in some way for showing perceived 'weakness' or perhaps getting fired completely.

Through wanting to make a good impression or perhaps for not feeling they have not yet earned enough loyalty to ask for a large chunk of time off, the employee will take a smaller and 'socially accepted' amount of time off to the detriment of their own mental health and work performance. 

Young and new employees I feel are particularly vulnerable in fast-paced and 'revolving door' type work environments which do not place much trust, loyalty or respect on the individual but rather the workforce as a whole. When you are constantly told that you could be replaced by any number of people at any time and that your job safely relies on your performance and sacrifices (usually in the form of unpaid overtime) then having to ask for paid time off can feel almost like a form of self-sabotage. You've not yet had a chance to make an impression on your employers before having to now ask them for something that inconveniences them. 

Therefore I feel a statutory amount of days off is vital for the well-being of both the employees mental and financial health. A set number of days should be allowed for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one without the fear of how the time off will reflect their work performance at a time when thinking about work shouldn't even come into it. Workforces and managers, in general, need better training and guidelines on how to help grieving employees especially if that workforce does not have an HR department or formal process in place already.

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