Facebook will now grant up to 20 days of bereavement leave in the event of a family member’s death. The announcement, made by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, included that the leave would be paid and that up to 10 days will be granted to those who have lost an extended family member.
The social media giant is setting a high standard with the new policy, which is well above the U.S. average. Currently, 81 percent of organizations provide paid bereavement leave, according to a Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) survey. The SHRM survey revealed sharp contrasts between the norm and Facebook’s policy, but typical policy norms have remained unchanged for several years:
- An average of four days’ bereavement leave was granted following the death of a spouse or child.
- An average of three days’ bereavement leave was granted in the event of the death of a domestic partner, foster child, grandchild, parent, sibling, or grandparent.
- One to two days of bereavement leave were granted for other extended family members or a spouse’s relative.
- Most organizations did not issue bereavement leave for extended family or friends.
Generous time-off policies are not new for Facebook, however. The company also grants four months of fully paid leave for new moms and dads. The new bereavement policy may also be a sign that some employers are taking a new look at how to deal with death impacting employees. In recent years, parental leave has been the main subject dominating time off, but companies may look at how death impacts an employee’s productivity. New policies surrounding death may include longer bereavement leave, but also grief counseling resources available at a reduced cost or for free.
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