EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Companies are not required to provide bereavement leave for their employees in Texas, leaving many without enough time to deal with grief.
Crystal Etter, human resources analyst for Workforce Solutions Borderplex, said Texas law does not require employers to provide bereavement leave benefits. Those businesses that offer them, she said, typically give their employees three to five days of leave in the case of a death of a family member.
She explained that in her company, the employee requests leave from HR or their supervisor.
“We respect their privacy and then ask them for paperwork after,” Etter explained, saying that they ask for proof after the three-day leave.
Her advice for other employers is to have the information about their benefits readily available for employees.
These benefits are offered only by some employers and oftentimes are available after the evaluation period of six to nine months. For part-time employees, these benefits might not be available, depending on company policy.
Dr. Farizzio Delgado, psychiatrist with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, explained that the grieving process is an individual experience and can take anywhere from a week to several weeks, and sometimes even months, to process.
“People think of it as a cycle, but actually, sometimes on the same day, you will have the anger, the bargaining, the depression and acceptance,” explained Delgado.
His advice to employers is to take their worker’s mental health into consideration when creating policies for bereavement leave.
“Helping [with] your employees’ mental health, making sure they are on top of it and then that translates into good products and good services in the company,” concluded Delgado.
For those who are experiencing grief for a longer period of time and feel that they cannot process it with the support of their family, he suggests seeking therapy.
One of the available resources in El Paso is Emergence Health Network, which provides free mental health counseling.