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Bereavement Leave Policies in the UK Armed Forces

Standard Approach

There is a standard approach across the single Services to bereavement leave, which is covered by the use of Compassionate leave, and is outlined in ‘Joint Service Publication (JSP) 760: Tri-Service Regulations for Leave and Other Types of Absence’.

The authorisation and duration of compassionate leave rests with the individual’s Commanding Officer (CO), who may authorise up to four (4) full weeks. However, two (2) full weeks will normally be sufficient in the first instance.

Beyond Four Weeks

Only in exceptional circumstances and following a re-examination of the circumstances should compassionate leave exceed four (4) full weeks. In considering applications COs should treat each case individually on its merits and be mindful of Parental Bereavement granted under the Parental Bereavement (Leave & Pay) Act 2018.

Further Considerations when an Employee Returns to Work

There is no leave policy that includes further considerations, but other arrangements may be made by COs to help the
bereaved individual return to full work.

Whilst there are no policies that include further considerations when an employee returns to work, further periods of Compassionate Leave can be authorised, but as an exception, as Service personnel are expected to resolve their personal affairs within a reasonable timescale. Ongoing issues should be addressed by seeking alternative courses of action through single Service channels.

Policy Changes

The policy changed in 2020 in order to cover the introduction of Parental Bereavement.

In considering applications COs should treat each case individually on its merits and be mindful of Parental Bereavement granted under the Parental Bereavement (Leave & Pay) Act 2018.

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