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If you’re looking to find out more about the rules on compassionate leave in the UK, we can outline the main points for you in this article.

However, there are some factors that are decided by individual companies, based on their own HR policies.

According to HR professional body CIPD, 40% of employers offer staff 3-5 days of paid leave and 12% provide two weeks. However, 14% only offer 1-2 days, so there is a lot of variation.

We’ll explain which aspects are determined by UK law, as well as the considerations that are at each employer’s discretion.

For employees, it’s important to know your main rights around compassionate leave in the UK.

This guide lets you know what to expect from your employer as standard and the things to clarify with them.

What is compassionate leave?

The first thing you should know is that there are different types of compassionate leave – meaning that sometimes, the term itself is not used correctly.

‘Compassionate leave’ and ‘bereavement leave’ are often used interchangeably, but they have separate definitions:

  • Compassionate leave: Absence from work due to a death or serious illness of a loved one, a childcare emergency and other similar circumstances
  • Bereavement leave: Absence from work due to a death of a loved one

Sometimes, ‘grievance leave’ is also used interchangeably with the terms ‘bereavement’ and ‘compassionate leave’.

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