Policies & Contracts

506 - Bereavement Leave

Subject: Bereavement Leave

Section: U506

Date: February, 2023


To provide employees with time off from work when they experience loss within their family. 

Policy Statement:

Upon request, in the event of the death of certain members of employees’ families or in the event of certain other kinds of loss, it is the University’s policy to grant paid time off and/or unpaid leave to benefits-eligible employees.

A. Bereavement Leave for the Death of a Child or Spouse

In the event of the death of an employee's Child or Spouse (as defined in this Policy), the employee may take up to twenty (20) work days (four work weeks) of paid bereavement leave. Bereavement leave for the death of a Child or Spouse need not be taken on consecutive work days, but must be taken within one year of the death. 

B. Bereavement Leave for Other Loss

In the event of the death of an employee's parent or foster parent, step-parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or the parent or child of the employee's spouse or University-approved domestic partner, the employee may take up to 5 consecutive paid workdays of bereavement leave within 60 days from the date the employee receives notice of the death. Employees may take an additional 5 days of unpaid leave to be taken consecutively with their paid leave.  

Employees who experience a miscarriage, an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or an assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party, a failed surrogacy agreement, a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility, or a stillbirth may take up to 5 consecutive paid workdays of bereavement leave within 60 days of the qualifying event. Employees may take an additional 5 days of unpaid leave to be taken consecutively with their paid leave.

Leave under this section is limited to a total of six (6) weeks in a 12-month period.

C. Administration of All Bereavement Leave

An employee should communicate the need for bereavement leave as soon as is practicable, but no less than two (2) days before the leave, unless providing such notice is not reasonable or practicable under the circumstances. Bereavement leave must be taken within the timelines noted above based upon the applicable situation. 

For benefits-eligible staff employees, paid bereavement leave will not be deducted from the employee's allotment of sick leave, vacation days, or personal holidays. In the case of paid bereavement leaves, the employee will be paid only for those days that fall on their regularly scheduled workdays. If any portion of the bereavement leave is unpaid, the employee may (but is not required to) use accrued leave.  

Bereavement leave for non-benefits-eligible staff employees is generally unpaid; however, such employees may (but are not required to) use accrued sick leave during a bereavement leave. 

An employee may request time off in addition to what is provided above for the purposes of this leave to be charged against accrued vacation days, sick leave, or personal holidays, or as unpaid time off.  Supervisors have the discretion to grant to grant or deny the additional time off.

Supervisor considerations will be given on an individual basis to requests for bereavement leave in the event of the death of a person not bearing one of the relationships listed above to the employee. 

The University may require reasonable documentation to substantiate an employee’s request for bereavement leave. For events involving the death of a family member, the employee may be required to verify the relationship and death. Documentation requested may include a death certificate, a published obituary, or written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, cremation, religious institution, or government agency.  For events involving loss, the employee may be required to provide limited supporting information as approved by the Illinois Department of Labor. This may include information from the health care provider treating the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner or surrogate related to the event, or documentation from the adoption or surrogacy organization the employee worked with related to the event. In either case, the documentation is to verify the employee experienced a loss event listed in the policy, but the employee will not be required to identify which category of event they have experienced.  Bereavement leave, when paid, is paid on a regular, straight-time basis and is not counted as time worked when computing overtime.

Key Definitions:

Word/Phrase Definition
Child An employee's son, or daughter who is a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or child of a person standing in loco parentis (in the place of a parent). This definition applies only to this Bereavement Leave Policy 506, and not to other University policies or benefits referencing a Child or similar terminology. 
Spouse An employee's spouse, or domestic partner with a Statement of Domestic Partnership registered and approved by the Benefits Office. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Governed Party

Roles and Responsibilities

Employee The Employee is responsible for following the Supervisor's time off request procedures and recording bereavement leave use. 
Supervisor The Supervisor is responsible for setting time off request procedures, ensuring they are followed, and approving bereavement leave use in the time off calendar. 

Related Information

Policy U222 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping, and Tracking Absences

Policy U509 Vacation

Policy U511 Personal Holidays

Policy U512 Sick Leave

Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.