Walmart’s Bereavement Policy Explained

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Updated on October 24, 2023 by
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The death of a loved one is a difficult time and one of the most distressing times in life. A person in bereavement goes through the grieving process. They may experience many different emotions, from anger and sadness to loneliness and more.

Working during bereavement can be challenging. Thankfully, Walmart understands that working and dealing with grief can be difficult. The company does offer its employees bereavement leave, which is a good thing to know. You won’t have to worry about missing work during this time.

Employees at Walmart are just like everybody else. They have major life events, including the deaths of family and friends, that take place outside of work and require them to take time off to tend to the unexpected.

But what is Walmart’s bereavement policy? How long do employees get off of work, and what is the process?

First things first: What is bereavement policy?

Bereavement is the term used to describe a person’s reaction to the death of a loved one. The reaction may be so strong that it affects every aspect of life, including sleeping, eating, and working.

In other words, bereavement is a feeling that can bring on a range of physical and emotional symptoms. While the intensity of these symptoms may vary from person to person, they generally include a feeling of sadness or numbness, and a need to be close to loved ones.

This is why it is so important for employers to provide a compassionate environment for employees to grieve, and for employees to know what the company’s bereavement policy is.

An employer creates a bereavement policy and allows for paid and unpaid time off when someone close to one of their employees dies (such as a family member or relative). According to Fortune, about 90% of companies have bereavement policies. The standard is three to five days off for an employee to take bereavement leave.

Bereavement policies are generally made to provide time off to allow employees to take care of the following:

  • Making funeral arrangement
  • Pay respects to the deceased’s family
  • Attend the funeral and burial
  • Handle the deceased’s belongings and will
  • Other matters that may need to be dealt with after a death

A bereavement policy is one among many different types of leaves that any upstanding company should have, alongside sick leave, FMLA leave, and military leave. Ideally, a company should have a policy that allows employees to grieve without fear of punishment, such as loss of salary or pay.

What is Walmart’s bereavement policy?

As a company, Walmart offers a standard immediate family member bereavement policy for its associates that allows them to be absent from work to attend the funeral of a loved one and personal time to grieve.

This personal leave of absence does not count against you as an employee but does come with specific criteria. To take leave, you must confirm the absence with your supervisor and specify the period of time. Additionally, there are nuances with pay depending on the circumstances.

What are the rules and limits to Walmart’s bereavement policy?

Now, you may be wondering what the rules and regulations are to this bereavement leave. One thing to keep in mind is that according to the Walmart employee handbook, their bereavement policy online applies in cases where an immediate relative or family member passes.

An immediate relative includes parents, siblings, children, grandparents, and grandchildren. It also includes an employee’s spouse, or whoever else is a part of their domestic partnership. This means that if an in-law passed, for example, you’d likely not be given leave.

On top of things, the Walmart bereavement leave policy is limited to a short number of days. In particular, you get a maximum of three days of time away to grieve your loss. After this, you are expected to return to work and continue working until your last day.

How do I confirm the absence?

To get approval for time off due to bereavement, there are several last things you need to do. It is inadvisable to simply pack your bags and leave without a word. As a general rule of thumb, it is necessary to have a conversation with your direct supervisor. For them to approve your time off, they need to know when you will take the days and for how long.

It is worth noting that bereavement does not take away from any vacation time you have saved up, as long as you take it in the standard time increments. All Walmart associates are allowed up to three days of bereavement leave in addition to their standard paid time off.

At times, you may be asked to provide proof of the death. While this will vary depending on the store you work at, you can often provide it through an obituary, visitation booklet, or death certificate.

Why do they need to know how long?

Your supervisor needs to know the duration you will be out of work for planning and scheduling purposes. While many will return to work after the standard three days allotted, some grieve according to specific cultural traditions.

For example, some cultures require an extended period of grieving that is longer than what Walmart typically provides. Additionally, if an associate has lost a close family member, they may not be ready to return to work after the standard three days. These circumstances have to be planned to have proper coverage for shifts.

Do I get paid while on bereavement leave?

Walmart provides full pay for three days of bereavement leave. After those three days, it is up to the supervisor and managers to decide how much of the rest will be covered as paid.

Therefore, if you know that you will be out longer than three days, it is necessary to communicate that with your supervisor as soon as you can. At times, if the death was a close relationship or there are extenuating cultural circumstances, there may be additional paid days available. You may be given a bonus to your bereavement pay.

On the other hand, however, it is also possible that you may be asked to take unpaid or vacation time to cover the extra days taken off of work. In this case, you may also use any leftover Part-Time Off (PTO) you have in order to cover up the costs.

Whether the bereavement policy at your Walmart counts as paid leave or unpaid leave is something that you need to discuss thoroughly with the responsible store manager, supervisor, or the Human Resources (HR) team.

Can I get an extension of bereavement leave? 

If you need more than three days off for bereavement leave, it’s best to request extra time by talking with your manager. However, be aware that bereavement leave is three days with pay. Beyond this, you won’t be compensated for the time off.

Do I get bereavement leave if I work part-time?

Many Walmart employees work part-time rather than full-time. This means that they work fewer hours per week than what the company’s normal work schedule is. If you’re one of these Walmart part-timers, you may be wondering if you get the same bereavement benefits as full-time employees do.

Fortunately, all types of employees within Walmart are granted equal bereavement leave regardless of whether they work full-time, temporary, or part-time. If you work part-time, you will be granted the same three days of bereavement leave as full-time employees. Additionally, Walmart pays all types of employees with bereavement pay.

Still, make note of the limit of your bereavement leave to make sure that you don’t exceed the amount of time allotted. Furthermore, talk to your supervisor to ensure that you fully understand the terms of your bereavement leave.

How Does Walmart’s Bereavement Policy Compare to Other Businesses?

Walmart’s bereavement policy is standard when compared with other companies. Businesses such as Home Depot, Walgreens, and Target offer three days of paid bereavement leave.

Conclusion – does Walmart offer bereavement?

Yes, Walmart does have a bereavement policy in place for their associates. While there are three days available to all workers, it is required to confirm your absence with your direct supervisor.

Additionally, as an associate, you will need to relay what amount of time off is required. This information will help your management plan for coverage and pay.

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