Workplaces need to do more to support employees coping with bereavment, according to new research from MetLife UK.
The group risk insurer found that this issue impacted significant numbers of employees, with an estimated one in 10 affected at any given time.
MetLife in order to provide effective support, the role of the line manager was critical. It says many of these managers also need effective training and support themeselves to ensure they are providing practical and emotional help and guidance.
To help provide this MetLife has a new toolkit available which includes a guide to the services available for both intermediaries and employers, and posters to ensure employees are aware of the various services available.
Under MetLife’s group life policy, it offers a bereavement and probate helpline, as well as support for terminal illness diagnosis. This is available to individuals as well as colleagues, friends and family.
Employees covered on this policy are also eligible for six face-to-face counselling sessions a year, with the helpline providing additional support help on the practical challenges people face during bereavement.
Financial intermediaries who have terms of business agreed with MetLife also receive complimentary access to this service.
This new toolkit also offers information on key consideration for line managers.This addresses how manager can support employees, the importance of giving staff time off work to cope in the immediate aftermath, and reminders that the anniversary can also prove difficult. It points out that managers may need to communicate with families as well as colleagues and potentially clients.
MetLife UK employee benefits director Adrian Matthews says: “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.”