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Personnel Today - Employers need to do more to supplement state bereavement support

It’s been announced that the government intends to change the law by the end of this year to allow opposite-sex couples to form civil partnerships. Currently, when someone is married or in a same-sex civil partnership and their spouse or civil partner dies, they may be entitled to state Bereavement Support Payment, and this will be extended to those in opposite-sex civil partnerships.

The maximum amount currently payable to a bereaved spouse or same-sex civil partner is a lump sum of £3,500 plus up to 18 monthly payments of £350. Given the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,757 and average earnings in the UK are £2,466 a month, any Bereavement Support Payment won’t go very far towards easing a family’s ongoing financial commitments.

This provides a timely reminder for employers to review how they support their staff in such circumstances, especially since not all couples choose either marriage or a civil partnership and so won’t even be entitled to this payment if a partner dies.

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