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Employees ‘need more support to cope with bereavement’

One in 10 workers are affected by bereavement at any given time

Employees need more workplace support to cope with bereavement, according to MetLife UK.

The group risk provider said the role of the line manager is a critical one in supporting staff through difficult and emotive circumstances.

Research suggests an estimated one in 10 employees are affected by bereavement at any given time. The most recent government data shows around 96,000 people of working age die each year out of the total of more than 600,000 deaths registered in the UK.

MetLife provides a Bereavement and Probate helpline with its group life cover for employees, which aims to ensure employees and employers have emotional and practical support. It also offers support for terminal illness diagnosis. 

Employees are eligible for six face-to-face counselling sessions a year.

Financial intermediaries who have terms of business agreed with MetLife also receive complimentary access to the service. 

MetLife has created a new toolkit which includes a guide to the service for intermediaries and employers, posters to promote the service for employees, and 10 key considerations for line managers.

The key considerations highlight how line managers can support employees affected by a bereavement and the possible impact on individuals in the workplace if they suffer the loss of a colleague.

Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said businesses often have very limited experience dealing with bereavement or terminal illness and can find themselves unprepared and overwhelmed when it happens.  “Employers and employees need access to comprehensive practical and emotional support to help meet the needs of the individual and the business at their time of need, for as long as they need it,” he added.