Grieving workers need more support, time off: Union

People often struggle with work after the death of a loved one, trade union CNV said based on a survey among 1,100 workers conducted by Maurice de Hond. One in ten people who lost a loved one suffered a burnout due to the combination of grief and work. One in five said they didn't get enough support from their employer. And a quarter said they couldn't function properly for a long time, NOS reports.

"Employers must ensure that people return to work safely after such an event," CNV chairman Piet Fortuin said to the broadcaster. "Do not say immediately after a funeral: when will you be back? But just ask openly: how are you doing? But it also differs per person, it is custom work. And it also makes a difference whether someone lost a child or a parent of 85." 

CNV called on employers to be extra alert to employees who lost a partner or a child. "The blow is massive in this group," Fortuin said. "73 percent could not function properly for a long time, 23 percent had a burnout, and 14 percent lost their jobs."

Grief is a complicated process, both for the person going through it and their coworkers, Fortuin said. "What we see is that early contact between company and employee is good. A company should not be silent for a long time. And do not delegate it to the occupational health and safety service or human resources, but do it yourself as a manager."

The union also wants grief leave to be arranged better. CNV thinks a flexible, two-week long grief leave is a good idea. Currently, this type of leave depends on the collective labor agreement.