My friend’s Mother died 17 days ago after a long illness. And without warning, her Dad died two weeks later. I cared for several aunts in their last years, including handling their final hospitalizations, hospice, funerals, and estates. This is pretty common for many employees who are care-givers.
Yet here I am again talking with an organization which wants to define quite carefully the three days for bereavement leave and who it applies to. Can you even get to the funeral and back in three days, much less help your family cope?
Sure, I have known of an employee who had four grandmothers die within 18 months and was gaming the 3 day bereavement system at his company. But one of those in four decades leaves me wondering why we feel such a need for a tight policy. And when a manager’s son was killed in a skiing accident, do you think the company actually enforced its ‘3 day’ rule? Of course not.
One of the bigger risks you can take is to have a policy – on any topic – and ignore it. Too often that may be done for reasons you think are valid. But a good lawyer can find that you did it in a discriminatory manner against their client.
Did you really get anything positive out of your policy in the first place? For every potential issue it may have been meant to protect you against, did it? Or did it also send a message that you did not trust your employees or did not think they were adults.
This be the right time to look at your policies and see whether you really need them all. Think of it as spring cleaning. Which ones help your employees succeed and thrive? Which ones ensure you will meet your business goals? And which ones are just old habits or have negative consequences?