Returning to work

Under the Bermuda Employment Act, employees are entitled to up to 3 consecutive days of bereavement leave following the death of an immediate family member (spouse, parent, sibling or partner) or up to 5 days if the funeral is overseas. Bereavement leave is unpaid unless your contract of employment states otherwise.

This is nowhere near long enough for any bereavement, let alone a suicide. It may take several weeks before you are ready to return to work even in a limited or part-time capacity. Most companies and organisations will likely be sensitive to your situation and supportive but it is important to talk this over with your employer as soon as possible to avoid  unnecessary stress or misunderstanding.

If you are a business owner or self-employed, you should inform your associates and employees of your situation and hand over as much as possible of the day-to-day responsibilities as possible to a trusted deputy or partner until you feel ready to resume work.

For some people, work provides a focus and a routine which can be helpful in providing some distraction from the pain of grief. For others, the impact of the trauma and bereavement impacts significantly on the capacity to return to work. Even when you return to work, you may feel you are not as productive or effective as you were before, and find it difficult to interact with work colleagues. Consult your doctor if you are having difficulty returning to work.

If your company is a member of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), they can provide confidential grief counselling. EAP can also be helpful in counselling staff who may be impacted or traumatised by a colleague’s suicide, and operates a 24-hour emergency service.

Also, reach out to LOSS through this website – talking to people who have been through the same experience can be helpful and reassuring. 

Employee Assistance Programme
Phone: 292-9000