In my 30 year career I have worked several places and not one employer had what I call sufficient support for those who were bereaved. Not even the hospices.
Three days of paid leave and maybe some flowers. That’s usually the sum total of support an employer lends to an employee after they experience the death of a loved one. There is of course, FMLA but that just protects your job to some extent, it is not truly support. It’s also mandated by law. Sometimes, individual employers will extend additional emotional support by offering some workplace flexibility when an employee is taking care of an aging or ill loved one, but it isn’t status quo across the board.
Our aging boomers have caregiving children in the work force. Many have to give up their jobs in order to take care of their parent. While employers are not required to do more, I think they could.
I am exploring a new benefit and am looking for emplyers who would be adventurous and caring enough to join me in providing a non-traditional benefit to their employees.
End of Life Specialist Benefits
In addition to the traditional three day paid bereavement leave and flowers, I suggest employers consider end of life specialist services in addition to traditional EAP. As an end of life specialist I provide services including but not limited to:
- advanced directive planning
- emotional estate planning
- bedside support
- healing bedside rituals
- education on the end of life process
- assistance and emotional support navigating the medical community
- facilitate support groups
- bereavement support follow along
- support for anticipatory grief
- grief counseling
- legacy projects
- facilitate educational and interactive seminars
- mediate/facilitate difficult family conversations
- provide grief support to co-workers after a employee death
A one year contract specifically designed for your company and your employees can include all or some of these services. In an age where the topic of death is taboo and the event often spirited away behind the walls of medical institutions there is a new age dawning. I am part of that new age, providing support when it matters most. I have a lifetime career of experience that has proven time and time again to benefit in the simplest ways resulting in profound shifts regards coping and healing related to the end of life stage.
As a business owner you must realize the impact that illness, dying and death have on your caregiving and bereaved employees. You must also realize that this impacts the quality of work they can provide you during this time. Having your human resource amply supported during times of caregiving and bereavement prevents depression, job loss, production decline, grave errors in judgment, apathy as well as reducing absenteeism.
I hope I do not have to outline all the benefits to your bottom line that such a non-traditional benefit would provide. Just look at how non-traditional benefits have impacted the bottom line of companies such as Google and Amazon!! Non-traditional benefits decrease turnover rates, increase morale, decrease on-boarding costs, increase productivity, increase creativity and encourage unity and loyalty just to name a few.
But really, all other benefits aside, its the right thing to do for those who have chosen you as their employer. With this non-traditional benefit you make a difference at a time when no one else knows how to. We each only have one death in this life. There are no do overs and I meet people everyday who have profound regrets surrounding the death of someone they’ve lost. It doesn’t have to be that way. The loss of a loved one hurts, we can’t change that. We can however, change the circumstances in which it happens and provide more support to those in need.
I’d love your feedback to this non-traditional benefit whether you are an employee or an employer. I welcome all conversations. Please share your thoughts on how you think this benefit would impact you as an employee or an employer.