Grief in the Workplace: Building Compassionate Organisations

One positive thing that’s happened during the pandemic is more open conversation around grief and bereavement. 

Even in normal times, one in ten people experience grief at any one time. The death of a loved one can turn lives upside down. Yet people who’ve been bereaved are often expected to return to work after a short period of leave. Very often, they’re expected to carry on as if nothing has happened. Gradually, however, organisations are seeing they have a role to play in supporting their team, and the benefits of a more empathetic culture at work. 

In a landmark move in 2020, the UK became the world’s first country to introduce two weeks statutory leave for bereaved parents. This legal right is dubbed ‘Jack’s Law‘, for Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly for this change.

This conversation about grief in the workplace was hosted by Ken Akers, head of Human Resources at Marie Curie. The panel discusses current best practice in the UK and answers questions about building compassionate companies that are ready to support their most precious assets, their staff, through their darkest hours.

If you’re struggling with grief or need support, you can find free bereavement resources, and a list of organisations that can help, on . You can also call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309* for ongoing support from a trained bereavement volunteer.

*Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday 11am to 5pm. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles. Your calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.



Ken Akers Bio Pic

Ken Akers

Jason Watkins

Jason Watkins

Lucy Herd