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Death in Family: What you need to know

Grief is a complex process that each individual will and must approach in his or her own appropriate way. For example, when coping with the death of a loved one, many people welcome the respite of a few days’ personal leave so that they can make needed arrangements and quietly heal. Others may prefer the distraction of the workplace and the sense of normalcy that returning to the daily routine can offer. As reactions to loss vary widely, employers should be flexible in their approach to and accommodation of grieving employees.
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Employees who have suffered a recent loss may exhibit grief in a variety of ways, including some or all of the following behaviors: difficulty concentrating or making decisions, disinterest in the job, frustration, depression, mood swings, and relationship difficulties. There is no set time frame for grief, and it often takes longer than expected to heal. The first few months are likely to be emotionally intense, and the employee may have many difficult days during the first year.
A bereaved employee's supervisor is often in the best position to assist the employee before and after he or she returns to work following a loss.
It can be challenging for a manager to strike a balance between maintaining a productive work environment and providing support for the grieving employee. The following list provides a few suggested steps an employer can take to help an employee who is grieving:
• Express sympathy and let the employee know that the employer is sorry for what he or she is going through.
• Send a personal note of condolence, flowers, or a card.
• Attend the funeral and allow the employee's coworkers to attend, even if it requires closing a department ...

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