Bereavement Leave Policies: Determining Workplace Enforcement at Intersection of Defined Policies and FMLA

Assessment and Monitoring of Job Performance Under an Open-Ended Leave Policy

A live 90-minute CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, May 20, 2022

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide employment counsel with advice on how employers can and should handle grief and bereavement leave. The panel will address the intersection of defined bereavement leave, the FLMA, and the ADA. The panel will discuss how the growing use of open-ended leave policies creates potential risks and requires the establishment of job assessments.


Employers need to examine their grief and bereavement leave policies as there is no federal requirement for bereavement leave and most states fail to address the issue.

Typically, employers have defined bereavement policies of three to five days for leave while the fallout from the death of a loved one can rarely be encapsulated in such a relatively short time frame. Many policies stipulate that the person who passes away has to be a close family member, like a parent, sibling, child, or spouse. However, in most cases, bereavement can be used to attend to the death of any loved one.

Under the FMLA, many employees have the ability to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to assist a close family member who has medical issues. This creates a problem when employees have already been largely absent and then seek additional time off. Some employers are concerned about the misuse of generous leave policies. There is no simple or easy workplace answer to these issues, but employers do need to take various laws into consideration when crafting a policy appropriate for their corporate culture.

The latest development is open-ended leave--or no-limit PTO. Due to the proliferation of these policies, there has been an increasing number of terminated employees who have raised the policy as a defense when terminated for being absent or falling behind in their work. In many ways, this type of policy requires closer assessment and monitoring than a capped leave process. Employers need to assess if the job is getting done, monitor the distribution of leave amongst the whole team for fairness, and engage in a process to determine if leave use is acceptable or if other accommodations need to occur. Further concrete performance monitoring may be necessary.

Listen as our expert panel discusses this sensitive employment issue, how to address employees that need additional time off after taking extended federal leave, and when and how assessments of open-ended leave policies can be properly implemented.



  1. Bereavement leave
    1. Defined policies
    2. FMLA
    3. Open-ended leave
  2. Best practices


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • What limitations should employers include in defined bereavement policies?
  • How does FMLA interact with bereavement leave and how can employers mitigate discrimination claims when it appears excessive leave is taken?
  • What are the risks of instituting an open-ended leave policy?


Green, Christine
Christine Green

Senior Employment Counsel
Stanton Law

Ms. Green is adept at guiding businesses through the catalog of laws governing employees. Her practice involves...  |  Read More

Additional faculty
to be announced.
Attend on June 15

Early Discount (through 05/20/22)

Cannot Attend June 15?

Early Discount (through 05/20/22)

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

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