Death of a Member of the Campus Community
Good communication is particularly important following the loss of a member of our campus community. When a death occurs, it is the responsibility of the departmental administrative official to communicate with various campus constituencies, as well as survivors. The guidelines help ensure that the deceased’s department notifies the correct central departments in a timely and efficient fashion.
- UC Berkeley’s Guidelines for Responding to Death
- Office of Human Resources – handling benefits for the deceased’s family
- Chancellor’s Immediate Office
Death of a Staff’s Family Member
When a family member or person close to a staff member dies, someone in the department should assume the role of coordinating communication between the absent, bereaved person, and his or her coworkers. The person’s immediate supervisor may want to send condolences, either by phone or mail. This should be done directly by the supervisor and not through someone else. It may be appropriate to send a condolence card from the manager or director, and also one signed by members of the department.
The chancellor encourages consistency in responding to the deaths of family members. He also encourages the use of department funds to send flowers or other appropriate gifts within the scope of applicable funding and personnel policy constraints.
The supervisor, or someone designated by the supervisor, also needs to determine the following:
- Does the individual want to hear from members of the department? If so, does the individual want to receive phone calls or cards?
- Who does the staff member want to hear from and how can he/she be reached?
- Who is invited to the services? When and where will they be held?
- Where can people send contributions?
- When will the person return to work?
It is helpful if those at work become familiar with the impact and process of grief to be able to be as supportive as possible to the bereaved upon his or her reentry to work. After the staff member returns to work, he or she may need to be reminded to change their benefits if the person who died was covered for health, dental, DepCare, life insurance, and other benefits.
Remind the staff member that CARE Services is available to assist them during this time of mourning. Also, CARE is available to consult with he department on handling the situation.
The death of a family member can cause financial hardship. It may be necessary to cover the unexpected costs of child or elder care, shipping of remains, travel, attorney fees, accommodations and funeral arrangements. The university can provide some loans assistance. Staff are eligible for emergency loans from Loans and Receivables for the coverage of unanticipated expenses associated with the death of a family member.
The definition of family member includes a parent, spouse/domestic partner, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, in-law, step-relative in any one of these relations, or a member of the household.
The loan request is made through Loans and Receivables, through the employee’s manager.
Staff can borrow a maximum of $1,000 per death, but the University will consider exceptions to the cap. Interest-free loans must be repaid through payroll deduction within one year. An interest rate of 8 percent will be charged on loans that exceed 12 months.