Recently my mother entered her final stage of illness following cancer. After caring for her 30 days in her home she passed away on Friday the 5th of this month. Work had been great in allowing me to work 2 hours a day at home during this period, which allowed me to be with and support mum.

The funeral is booked for Wednesday the 17th, so 8 working days following the death. When would I reasonably be expected back in the office full time do you feel?

  • 9
    Many companies have an explicit policy on bereavement leave. Does yours? Jul 12, 2019 at 16:23
  • 2
    In addition you should consider what you want to do, so as to know what you would or wouldn't like. Some people would rather take only a day or two off, at most, because they'd rather be working than sitting at home thinking about things - better to be busy. Other people would much rather have a week or more at minimum to take time away form work to go through things. Reasonable people will have a strong preference to defer to your wishes, though toxic workplaces certainly exist, so they will like to know what you would like. Their official policies will mostly be about paid vs unpaid time.
    – BrianH
    Jul 12, 2019 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


Before anything, deeply sorry for your loss.

Regarding your question, I would say that there is not a strict guide on that. Every person reacts differently to pain and loss, and have different needs. Some would like to vanish from the world, others would look for company all the time, and so on.

So, my suggestion would be to you get in touch with your manager, explain your needs, and ask advice from her/him. Probably one good option would be the gradual return to the job, but you both will know better, specially since the company seems to care about you.

I found some information in this link, in case you want more comments on that: https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com/guides/bereavement-leave/entitlement/

All the best!

  • Agreed. As a comment (and a personal statement), exactly one year ago I was in the same situation as OP. What I did was to be clear with my manager, explained to him about the situation, that I wanted to be for her in her last days, and what can I do... my boss was kind enough to let me work remote for 2 months prior to her death, and after that the standard mourning time-off of my country came to place (I think it was 1 or 2 weeks)... but yes, talk to your manager and see how can you sort it out. My deepest condolences for you, Paul.
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 12, 2019 at 17:52
  • Sorry for y'all's loses - a lot of us are in the "our parents passed away, what do I do about work?" club. My mother passed away 18 year ago this month. I'd also suggest speaking with HR. And also, avoiding anyone who hasn't actually lost a parent, because it isn't like losing a dog, getting a divorce, being laid off from a favorite job, or anything else. Jul 12, 2019 at 21:13

Sorry for your loss.

Are you asking when you think it's a good idea to return to work? If so, I recommend taking as long as you need. At the very least enough time to take care of her funeral, expenses, paperwork, will, stopping any auto payments (social security, retirements, etc do not spend this money as they will ask it back or do a reversal from the bank, this is usually automatic but sometimes it's not). 2-3 weeks is fairly reasonable especially for a parent. Just let your manager know and you should be okay to go.

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