Times of grief and loss can be especially difficult for employers and employees to manage. Helping people following a death through the process of grief can be formidable. While there is no perfect plan because every situation is unique, businesses should consider possible circumstances and develop policies that provide meaningful expressions of condolence, help employees manage their emotions and grief, and shield the business so that the workplace productivity or environment not suffer a negative impact. To add an additional layer of complexity, co-workers, employers, and clients may want to pay particular attention to and be considerate of the variety of customs, rituals and traditions those who have lost a loved one may observe based on their religion, culture and faith when expressing condolences.

Judaism sets forth a unique and many times unfamiliar set of mourning practices. Whether a mourner is seeking guidance on the traditions of Jewish mourning, burial and shiva or a co-worker and employer are researching the proper way to express appropriate condolences, along with what to say, bring or send to someone of the Jewish faith, in this section, you will find information for the employee, employer, client and anyone in the professional setting who has suffered a loss.

Following the funeral and burial in the Jewish religion the immediate family begins the first structured period of mourning referred to as the shiva. This is a seven-day mourning period during which mourners generally cease working to mourn the loss of a loved one. During the shiva, it is customary for mourners observing shiva not to leave the house to go to their workplace or carry out any work-related tasks during the weeklong period. In this section, you will find guidance on what to bring or send to a shiva, what to say at a shiva, and appropriate sympathy and condolence gifts.

In addition, this section provides general guidance and reminders of notifications that should be made, how much time should be spent away from the workplace, and ways to encourage your colleague who has suffered the loss.

There is also a wealth of information for the employer. The company is challenged to put together bereavement policies that can provide structure and fairness to the process. You will see the importance of programs that can assist the employees manage their grief, can help individuals to deal with the death of a co-worker, boss or client, and to build an environment of support and care.

This section provides guidance and resources on these topics and more:


The Passing of an Employee

Advice for managers, superiors and employers on maintaining order and productivity – while not glossing over the workplace loss – when an employee passes away.

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The Passing of a Professional

What is appropriate when a professional acquaintance, whom you have known for a long time, passes away? Click here to learn.

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First Steps: Notifying Your Employer, Co-workers and Supervisors

In the midst of tragedy, certain steps and measures still should be attended to by the person mourning a loss.

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Company Policy on Bereavement

Find information on the more technical aspects of Jewish mourning in terms of the workplace: bereavement, procedures, policies and more.

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Time Away from Work

Death of an employee’s family member, regardless of religion, is often – but not always – an acceptable excuse for paid time off.

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Helping a Colleague Re-enter the Work Environment

Returning to work is never easy for an employee after mourning the loss of a friend or loved one. Co-workers and supervisors, however, can help. Here’s how.

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Death in the workplace is, of course, not always a cut-and-dry scenario. Here are some of the exceptions to the rules.

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Articles related to death in the workplace:
Corporate Resource Guide

What to Send or Bring
Understanding Shiva