Forewarning on Funeral Leave
February 15, 2009 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Should I notify my employer about a possible (but not certain) funeral leave?

My grandfather has had chronic lymphocytic leukemia for many years. Recently, he has taken a rather severe turn for the worse. There is a rather large chance (but it is not a certainty) that he will die in the next few months. I live in New York; my family is in Alabama. I will likely need to go back for a week for two funerals (one in his hometown, where he grew up and lives now; and one in my hometown, where he spent his professional life).

It seems that it might be helpful for my employer to know that I might pick up and go for a week at some point in the next few months; would it be helpful for me to warn them, or is this something I should leave be until it has actually come to pass? My employer has briefly met my grandfather (invited him to a baseball game the next time he comes to town, in fact); they are only acquaintances.
posted by ocherdraco to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry to hear it.

As an employer, I would say definitely yes, let them know what's going on.
posted by tomble at 9:44 PM on February 15, 2009

I started a new job right after my mother-in-law stopped chemo. I told them about the situation during my interview, because I felt they needed to know that I'd eventually need a week off at a moment's notice. They were very supportive, and knowing in advance made it easier for them to cover my shifts. So yes, I'd tell them now.
posted by Ruki at 9:46 PM on February 15, 2009

Yeah, just let them know that you've got a family situation that's touch-and-go, and there's a possibility you'll need to take off quite suddenly for a week of funerals. There's pretty much no downside to being that classy. You do not have to share a lot of details.
posted by desuetude at 10:05 PM on February 15, 2009

Yes, definitely let them know. My grandmother passed last year, and I'd warned my manager and HR people about two weeks in advance, so it meant when it did actually happen I was able to give my manager a quick call and be on the next train home. There's no downside to not telling them.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:24 AM on February 16, 2009

Yeah, tell them. I have a nice employer and twice I've sent out an email that basically said "going home now, be back later, see you in a couple weeks". If pressed you can get a note from the doctor or the funeral home (and even get reimbursement from airlines for last minute grievance flights). The funeral home even had forms pre-printed to put in the old typewriter for such instances. Best to give them a bit of warning.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:07 AM on February 16, 2009

Yes. I've done this twice. It was appreciated.
posted by K.P. at 2:58 AM on February 16, 2009

Yes, pretty much as you've done so here.

"I might need to go to home for a funeral soon...." is unlikely to be met with anything unaccommodating.
posted by rokusan at 3:37 AM on February 16, 2009

I have been in a very similar situation; I told my supervisors that I didn't know a specific date yet, but it would be sometime soon, and I would keep them posted. They were very appreciative, and supportive.

Some of the people I had to notify were the cast and crew of a show I was stage managing, and as it turned out, the day that I did end up having to leave for the funeral was THE LAST DRESS REHEARSAL. But because I'd prepped everyone, they had rounded up a stand-in stage manager for that rehearsal and were able to still go ahead with it, and we all got through.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:06 AM on February 16, 2009

I've had to do this recently because my grandmother's health has quickly deteriorated. I decided to tell my boss and they were very supportive. They know that when the time comes I will be going home to Alabama for the funeral.
posted by collocation at 6:12 AM on February 16, 2009

I was able to give a week's notice before my boyfriend's father died (just last month), I was only out for two days my work was extremely accommodating. They even counted it is as bereavement, which wasn't necessary because I'm not married.
posted by kimdog at 6:42 AM on February 16, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks. I'll go ahead and let them know.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2009

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