That is, it is not required by the FMLA unless you promise otherwise. In Murphy v. FedEx National (8th Cir. 8/26/10), an employee sought and received FMLA leave to care for her hospitalized husband. When he died a week later, she took three days’ bereavement leave. Thereafter, she told her supervisor she needed 30 more days to “take care of things.” The supervisor responded, “OK, cool, not a problem, I’ll let HR know.” As it turns out, the extra 30 days was a problem for HR, which denied the request and terminated the employee, who had not returned to work.
I'm not a fan of government stepping in and telling companies when they have to allow time off, but I am a fan of reasonable bereavement leave.
I mean, honestly, how often does this really happen? I'm not talking about people who suddenly manufacture 14 different grandparents who all happen to die on Fridays. In the case of a death of a spouse, a child, or a parent, I think 1-3 days bereavement leave is utterly ridiculous. Ridiculous, I tell you.
I wouldn't be able to see straight 3 days after my husband died, let alone perform quality work.
I understand that businesses need to make money and that's hard to do with people out on leave, but this is not common. It's certainly less common than people having babies or getting the flu.
If any of you have written bereavement policies that allow for long periods of time off, I'm curious to know if you've had problems. I've always worked for companies that had the silly 1-3 days off thing in the policy, but managers generally allowed the employee to take "personal leave" for up to several months. But, since it wasn't policy, I'm sure there were people who were back in a matter of days.