New award will recognise compassionate employers
A new scheme launches this week to make workplaces better for people who are grieving.
The new Bereavement Charter Mark will recognise employers who support bereaved staff. It is accompanied by a Bereavement-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit providing tips and advice on how employers, managers and colleagues can support people who are grieving.
“Losing someone we love is the hardest thing many of us have to go through, and the pandemic has made life even more difficult for people who are bereaved.” Says Rebecca Patterson, Director of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief. “No-one can take away someone’s grief, but employers have the power to make someone’s life a little better or a lot worse.”
To gain the new Bereavement Charter Mark, employers must agree to take some simple steps towards creating a supportive environment for people who are bereaved, for example educating staff about bereavement, or creating a local bereavement policy.
“I was worried about how I would cope.“ says Clare, who was apprehensive about returning to work after her Mum died. “My line manager was just brilliant. It was a case of ‘do what you can, when you can, if you can’. I can’t begin to tell you the relief this gave me. But other people at work said and did some really insensitive things that made me feel terrible. Hopefully these new resources will help other people facing the same situation as me.”
The new resources were produced by the Scottish Bereavement Charter Group, and Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, a charity initiative working to make Scotland a place where everyone knows how to help when someone is caring, dying or grieving.
The resources include:
- A Bereavement-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit with information to help employers develop helpful workplace practices relating to bereavement.
- A Charter Mark that gives recognition to employers working to become more bereavement-friendly.
- An Employer’s Guide to the Bereavement Charter.
- A leaflet ‘What to do when a colleague has been bereaved’.
- A checklist of ‘things to do’ to become a bereavement-friendly workplace.
“Becoming a bereavement-friendly workplace doesn’t have to be expensive – a lot of it is about flexibility, sensitivity and good communication.” Says Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care.
“The Charter Mark and Toolkit help employers to see how simple actions by colleagues and managers can make a big difference to people who are living with grief.”
The new resources have been tested out with business leaders in Inverclyde, with positive results.
“At CVS Inverclyde we’ve been working towards achieving the new Bereavement Charter Mark, and it has been an incredibly positive experience for all involved.” says Alison Bunce of Inverclyde Cares. “It has been a great opportunity to bring colleagues together and talk through what we want to do to support each other through the difficult times that can come with bereavement.”
The new resources are being launched as part of ‘Demystifying Death Week’ which runs from 2-6 May. Demystifying Death Week is about shining a light on death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.
“People usually want to do the right thing when someone they know is caring, dying or grieving. But often they can feel awkward offering help, or worry about making things worse.” says Mark Hazelwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.
“Demystifying death week, and the new Bereavement Charter Mark and Workplaces Toolkit, are about giving people knowledge, skills and opportunities to plan and support each other through death, dying, loss and care.”
The new resources can be accessed at: https://www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk/content/bereavement_friendly_workplaces/