This is How Companies Can Help Employees Deal With Sickness and Death

Facebook joins the ranks of employers offering time off to grieve or care for ill relatives.

This week, Facebook made some important changes to their time off policy. Employees at the social networking giant will now get six weeks of paid time off to care for family members with long-term illness, 20 days of bereavement leave if an immediate family member dies (the company offers 10 days of leave for an extended family member’s passing), and three paid days off to care for short-term illness, like a child with the flu.

Within the past year, Deloitte and the Vanguard Group both started offering workers paid time off to care for sick relatives. Bloomberg reports that benefits like these are particularly appealing to millennials as they begin to care for their aging parents.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

When the new policy was announced, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote a detailed and deeply personal post about how grateful she was to be able to take time off in 2015 after the sudden death of her husband so she could grieve and care for her children. She underscored that her experience was a rare one, but it shouldn’t have been: “People should be able both to work and be there for their families. No one should face this trade-off,” she wrote.

Only 60% of private sector workers in the U.S. get paid time off after a family member or loved one dies, Sandberg wrote. She expressed hope more companies follow Facebook’s example, leading a cultural shift in fostering overall employee wellness. “At a time when nearly nine of ten working women in the United States have no parental or family leave, women make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, and there’s no system of national paid leave, companies need to step-up and lead,” she wrote.

Read more on Bloomberg.