Key Components to Setting Up Payroll: Part 6.2 – Bereavement Leave

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This article is written to provide you further information on Bereavement Leave according to Saskatchewan Employment Standards and to provide you with a guideline template you can download to use at your company.

The Canadian Federal Government has set legislation concerning Bereavement Leave; however, each province or territory administers this Leave of Absence (LOA) differently. Because of this, we recommend being accustomed to your business’s governing jurisdiction. In this series, we reference Saskatchewan Employment Standards and Saskatchewan Labour Standards.

Reminder: If your provincial or territorial jurisdiction does not have legislation around a certain policy, the Canadian legislature takes precedence.

Bereavement Leave

Bereavement Leave is offered to employees in the event an immediate family member* dies. Employees are required to provide their employer(s) with written notice as soon as possible.

Immediate Family Member: is a spouse, common-law partner, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling of an employee, the employee’s spouse/common-law partner, or if the employee is in a relationship of some form of permanence with another person (i.e. parents of a child).

Unpaid Leave

An employee with more than thirteen (13) weeks of continuous employment with their employer is entitled to take up to five (5) unpaid days from work without dismissal or discipline when an immediate family member dies. It must be taken within one (1) week before or after the funeral or burial of that immediate family member.

In instances where an employee’s immediate family member dies before the employee’s 13 weeks of continuous employment with their employer, the Canadian legislature supersedes, allowing any employee (regardless of their tenure with an employer) to take bereavement leave.

Extending Unpaid Leave

There are instances where the 5 unpaid days just is not sufficient to cope with the death of an immediate family member, in events like this, employees can extend their bereavement up to a maximum of six (6) weeks of LOA.

If this is the case, they will need to apply for an extended LOA with their employers directly and/or with their employer’s insured short-term disability benefits provider.

Paid Leave (Optional)

This is not common knowledge, nor is it specified in Saskatchewan Employment or Labour Standards; however, according to Canadian Legislation – employers in Saskatchewan can exercise the option to provide their employees with up to three (3) paid days of the 5 days if the employee has been with their employer for more than 13 weeks of continuous employment.

Now that you have been introduced to what Bereavement Leave is, the requirements set by Saskatchewan and Canada Employment/Labour Standards, keep in mind that you can deviate from the minimum standards to provide additional care for your employees. You will notice this deviation in the downloadable Bereavement Leave Guideline included below for use within your business.

Please stay tuned for part 6.3 when we discuss Compassionate Care Leave, where we will also provide you with a policy template where you can download and use for your business.

Download the Key Components to Setting Up Payroll Part 6.2 – Bereavement Leave – Resource & Template (zip).

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Visit our Resource Library for all available downloads.

If you require assistance with any of the guides, forms or templates, please contact a BIG representative.

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