Is an Employer Required to Let You Take Time Off for a Funeral In Florida?
The loss of a close loved one is deeply challenging. The last thing a person wants to think about during try times is their work. This raises an important question: Is an employer required to let you take time off to attend a funeral? In Florida, the answer is largely “no”—while many companies do approve short-term bereavement leave for workers, that is largely done on a voluntary basis. There is no state of federal legal requirement mandating leave.
Florida Does Not Require Employers to Offer Funeral Leave
In Florida, there is no state law mandating employers to provide funeral leave for employees. For wage and hour laws, our state largely defaults to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Notably, the FLSA also does not offer legally-protected bereavement leave. In Florida, leave for a funeral—whether paid or unpaid—is left to the discretion of the employer.
Many Employees Allow Bereavement Leave—May Be Paid, Unpaid
Despite the lack of a state mandate, most businesses and non-profit organizations in Florida employers recognize the importance of bereavement leave. As such, they will voluntarily provide some form of funeral leave benefits. However, the specifics of these policies can vary widely from one company to another.
For example, some employers offer paid bereavement leave. In contrast, some other employers provide unpaid leave that is designed to allow workers the necessary time off but without financial compensation. In other cases, an employee may need to take sick leave or paid-time-off (PTO) for funeral leave.
Employer in Florida Must Abide By Valid Contract
When it comes to funeral leave, a key aspect for Florida employees to consider is their employment contract or collective bargaining agreement. Of course, not all employees in Florida have employment agreements in place. That being said, if you have signed an employment agreement, your employer is required to abide by the terms. A contractual obligation supersedes the general lack of state-mandated funeral leave. If your employment contract guarantees you funeral leave, you have the right to take that leave without facing punishment from your employer.
Employer in Florida Cannot Have Discriminatory Leave Policy
An essential legal boundary for employers in Florida is the prohibition of discriminatory practices in leave policies. This means that an employer cannot implement a bereavement leave policy that discriminates based on gender, race, religion, or other legally protected characteristics. For instance, a policy that systematically denies funeral leave to women—or any other specific legally protected group—could constitute illegal workplace discrimination. If you were denied funeral leave on discriminatory grounds, you may have a claim against your employer. A lawyer can help.
Get Help From an Employment Law Attorney in Florida
Bereavement leave is a complicated and sensitive matter. If you are an employee who believes that your legal rights were violated and/or that your employer breached a contract, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Florida employment law attorney for help.