Can I take time off under FMLA for a death in the family?

Candles at a funeral.

We are sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, you cannot take time off of work for a death in the family under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

There is no federal or state law (except Oregon) that allows an employee to take unpaid time off from work for a death in the family. FMLA does allow for unpaid time to care for a family member with a serious health condition, but does not grant time for bereavement.

If you need time away from work for a death in the family, you should first refer to your company’s employee handbook. If there is not a handbook or a written bereavement leave policy, speak to your manager. Most companies examine bereavement leave on a case to case basis. If the company does not allow for bereavement leave, you will have to use vacation or sick time.

The words and other content provided in the blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as professional advice (please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information).


Alicia Lillegard, Esq.

Alicia Lillegard has over 20 years of experience in employment law, human resources and insurance, working with with large blue chip companies, startups, and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Lillegard is currently Managing Director of New England Human Capital, a human resources consultancy which advises small and midsize businesses on Human Resources compliance, including employment procedures, employee relations and employee benefits. She holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago and John Marshall Law School.

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