A friend of mine recently lost his Dad. This friend is really appreciated where he works, and have a close relationship with his direct manager and more generally speaking with his team (they go out for a few drinks after work, sometimes they eat at one or other place).

When he announced his Dad passed away, everyone (including his boss) told him they would go to the funeral, to show support because (and I mark this point) "this is what friends do". This wouldn't be an issue for the company, because they form a very small team and their 3h leave wouldn't be even noticed at a global scale.

Where it gets complicated, is when the boss's boss said anyone who would want to attend the funeral would have to take a day off, or at least half a day off.

I can totally understand this statement for my friend's coworkers, but what about his boss?


Should the boss take an off-time to attend the funeral, or is it a part of his role to represent the company in such occasions?

I feel that as a high-level manager, I would let some manager go to such a funeral without asking him to take a day-off.

  • 1
    You want the company to pay a manager to go to the funeral of someone the manager doesn't know personally. That is actually not free at all. The company has to pay for that. In a place like Japan or South Korea, that would be fine, and perhaps even expected, but in the United States, an employer would never actually support something like this. In the US, that manager would either have to use a vacation day or an actual sick day, or perhaps come back at 6 PM and work an extra 3 hours at night. In what country is this? In Europe, I have no idea how this would be handled. Apr 27, 2017 at 10:07
  • @StephanBranczyk when I said for free, it was more like "with no impact on his vacation days counter". I will edit right now.
    – le_daim
    Apr 27, 2017 at 10:11
  • 2
    @JoeStrazzere That seems very reasonable to me. Were not talking bereavement, only attending the funeral.
    – Neo
    Apr 27, 2017 at 11:01
  • @StephanBranczyk I do not want to find people who agree with me. Anyway, this situation made me think it was a good question to ask on SE, because I think other people may face the situation, and SE is a Q/A site. Even if dominated by people living in US, I read lots of question about UK, Europe, India and so on. My question was not intended to answer this specific situation in France, but more generally speaking what is a correct behavior and policy when dealing with funerals.
    – le_daim
    Apr 27, 2017 at 12:18
  • @le_daim The Workplace is an international community. Don't let some people make you believe otherwise.
    – Masked Man
    Apr 27, 2017 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Should the boss take an off-time to attend the funeral, or is it a part of his role to represent the company in such occasions?

They would be and should be expected to take time off as a holiday or as unpaid. Unless they are the owner of the business they are more than likely under the same polices given to every employee. Should the company decide that it's OK for this manager to attend a funeral and be paid to do so then other managers would expect the same. It's setting the wrong precedent.

In my opinion if the manager wants to attend the funeral I'm sure they would do so by taking it as a holiday or unpaid leave. It's a small sacrifice to be there for your friend.

This might be completely different had it been the employee who died. The company may then take a different approach to handle that.

I currently live in the England so France may differ


If you want to know if something is ok or not, you should look it up:

  • Does the law says something about it?

    (Where I live, you are granted one day of PTO by law on the death of a first grade relative (parent/child/sibling))

  • Does your contract say something about it?

If both don't, then you can just ask. Who knows, you might get lucky. But generally speaking, if you don't want to work on a day, you will need to take some of your PTO allowance, ask if unpaid-time off is OK, or come to work. That's your contract.

It's great that you want to support your friend. But the company is not interested in you being friends. You have signed a contract to exchange work for money. No work, no money, as far as the company is concerned. Your friendship is your private relationship and you need to pay the "costs" for it from your private funds (being it time or money) not the company funds.

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