Deciding what should remain the same and what should change are always big questions for an agency. No one on our leadership team takes change lightly. We believe it should only come from a place of true passion or deep experience.
After losing someone I love to Covid, my experiences this year have been filled with moments that I wish I could change for myself, or my family. In the absence of being able to do that, I wanted to change as much as I could about the experience others might have to go through.
Grief for most of us will be the hardest experience we have to endure. Death and loss are difficult to talk about. Even those we love will struggle to know how to support us. Here at bbd, we spend on average 8 years sitting (or zooming) side by side and sharing in each other’s success and failures. This makes us the closest support system between the hours of 9 to 5.
For all these reasons, we believed bbd needed a better platform to stand on when it really mattered. I was incredibly lucky with how the bbd team supported me and accepted my absence – but it shouldn’t be luck that means we feel secure enough in our jobs that we can take time to grieve.
The law on bereavement falls painfully short
Quite frankly, the platform the Government is offering right now is not good enough. Neither is its old fashioned definition of who a “loved one” might be. The law does not say how much time can be taken off if you lose someone close. It’s actually up to the employer to define what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ amount of time, and they are under no legal obligation to pay employees. Parental bereavement is only 2 weeks paid at £151.20 a week.
Changes that protect everyone equally
We don’t believe that compassion should be a lottery. That is why on October 1st, we launched 3 new enhanced bereavement policies.
- We have enhanced the standard bereavement policy.
- We have enhanced the standard parental bereavement policy.
- And we have created a new policy of compassionate leave.
- We have also broadened our definition of a “loved one” to reflect how we choose to live our lives and who we choose to spend our lives with.
I truly hope nobody at bbd has to use these policies, but if they do, I hope the changes we’ve made offer a little comfort, reassurance or maybe just some time when it’s needed most.
All of these changes reflect who we are as an agency and what we believe in. I would love to see more businesses taking the same stand, putting kinder policies in place and making sure every employee has time to grieve, take care of loved ones and come back to work feeling supported.