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Is an employee entitled to bereavement leave?

If a person is on a zero hours contract, are they entitled to bereavement leave?

Statutory bereavement leave is available to employees, but only in limited circumstances. If your employee has a child who dies, under the age of 18, or who is stillborn, they can take up to two weeks bereavement leave within 56 weeks of the death. What a week would be for them would be based on their average working week (one, two, three days etc).

Bear in mind, not all zero-hours staff are employees. Some can be workers, who don’t get the same rights as employees. If they are a worker, and not an employee, this statutory right will not apply to them.

>See also: Calculating holiday allowances for part-time staff

In other circumstances, there are some limited rights to time off, especially where your employee has to make arrangements for the funeral, etc. Your contract may set out the rules for this, including if that is paid (there is nothing to say it has to be, unless you normally do so). Do you give paid bereavement leave normally?

Look at the terms of your contract and see what it says in these circumstances. If your contract allows for paid leave, then you would normally pay them for those days when they would otherwise be working.

>See also: Holiday entitlement for new employees

Do they have a regular pattern of work or are they already on a rota to work the days they need as leave? If they are expected to work that time and need to take it off as leave, then that will probably activate your contractual term. If they are not expected to work and don’t need to take leave, then they probably won’t activate the contractual term.

Peter Done is managing director and founder of HR consultancy Peninsula

Further reading

Can I pay remote workers less than in-house staff?

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