When an employee dies

Dealing with next of kin when an employee dies

Guide

When an employee dies at work, you will need to deal with the next of kin very sensitively. A manager who knew the employee well may be the most appropriate person to break the news, or sometimes a colleague who knows the family well may volunteer.

At an appropriate time, you will need to inform the next of kin about their entitlement to:

  • life assurance or death-in-service benefits
  • remaining wage or salary payments
  • outstanding payments for untaken holidays
  • pension entitlements
  • any personal effects the deceased may have at the workplace

See practical steps when an employee dies.

After establishing when the funeral is to take place, it is a good idea to ask the next of kin whether colleagues of the deceased are welcome to attend.

You may wish to send a letter of condolence to the family of the deceased. You might also want to organise a floral arrangement to send to the funeral, or arrange some other tribute, and allow employees to contribute towards this. You may wish to place a notice in the local press (covering both sides of the community).

It might be appropriate to honour the person who died, with others at work. For example, you might consider:

  • organising a book of condolence for staff to share their memories of the person who died
  • holding an event or service to honour the person who died, inviting the family or next of kin as well, if appropriate