How to be a Compassionate Employer

Supporting grieving employees following the death of a loved one.

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, as the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia, works to build the capacity of individuals, organisations and communities in order to enhance wellbeing following adverse life events. The Centre is funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health as the statewide specialist bereavement service.

The Compassionate Friends Victoria has been providing peer support to bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents, along with educating the community on the impacts of grief, for the past 35 years. They have heard a variety of accounts from bereaved individuals relating to how they were treated by their employer following the death of a loved on. Whilst some individuals felt well-supported in their work environment, other recounted particularly negative experiences, to the extent that some felt the only possible solution was to leave their workplace altogether.

In an effort to better educate and support workplaces in the area of grief and bereavement, the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, in partnership with The Compassionate Friends Victoria, have developed the following suggestions based on employees' lived experiences of what they have found helpful, in order to help guide and support employers in the development of compassionate policy and practice within organisations.