Frequently Asked Questions

Teachers’ entitlements to bereavement leave are set out in detail at Appendix A of circular 78/2022. The number of days available will depend on the teacher’s relationship to the deceased.

For an immediate family member – the teacher’s spouse or child, or another person in a relationship of domestic dependency* – up to twenty days of bereavement leave may be taken.

For an immediate relative – the teacher’s parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, or in-laws – up to five days are available.

One day is available following the death of a teacher’s aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. (This may be extended to up to five days in exceptional circumstances, such as if the teacher was living with the deceased or is responsible for making funeral arrangements.)

* If the deceased lived with the teacher and was reliant on them for their care, they were in a relationship of domestic dependency. In this case, up to twenty days of bereavement leave may be taken.

Yes. A same-sex partner is covered under ‘Immediate Family’. (And a teacher’s spouse or co-habiting partner have the same status in circular 78/2022).
Yes, you are entitled to paid bereavement leave, in line with circular 78/2022 and subject to the same conditions as any other teacher while within your contract.

However, because you are paid through the OLCS, you will need to submit a Substitute for a Substitute form to claim your salary for the duration of your absence.

If your contract ends before your sick leave ends, your payment from the DE will cease at the end of your contract, unless you take up a subsequent contract.

Prior to the publication of circular 78/2022, bereavement leave was counted on consecutive calendar days immediately following the date the person has died.

Under the terms of the new circular, weekends and public holidays will not be counted as part of your bereavement leave.

So for instance, if a teacher’s immediate relative dies on a Friday morning, the teacher’s five days of bereavement leave will be Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

However, if the death occurs during a period of school closure, bereavement leave cannot be carried forward to when the school reopens.

Usually bereavement leave will be taken immediately following the death, but in exceptional circumstances – such as a death occurring abroad, or a delay to funeral arrangements – it can be deferred.

Yes. If you have a bereavement during a period of school closure, these days will be counted towards your number of days for bereavement leave. Weekends and public holidays will be excluded.
Depending on the timing of the death, you may have days remaining to take as bereavement leave.

For example:
If a school taking two days for the February mid-term, and a teacher’s parent dies on the Thursday of the closure, the Thursday and Friday will count as two days of their bereavement leave. The teacher will be take the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when the school reopens for the remainder of their bereavement leave. This will total five “working days” for bereavement leave, although the school will only have been open for three of these days.

Bereavement leave begin on the first weekday, excluding public holidays, from the date of the death. You will only be entitled to leave on days you are scheduled to work during this period of bereavement.

For example:

  • A job-share teacher who works week on-week off.
  • Her mother-in-law dies on the Wednesday of her week off.
  • The teacher’s five days bereavement leave will be Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday.

She is only scheduled to be in work on the Monday and Tuesday, so these two days will be recorded as bereavement leave.

The entitlement to bereavement leave is the same, whether in reference to a teacher’s spouse or their co-habiting partner.

So, if you live with your partner, and one of their immediate family has died, your bereavement leave entitlement will be the same as if the deceased was your in-law.

For your father-in-law or mother-in-law, you would be entitled to up to five days’ leave.

Under the terms of Circular 78/2022 there is no entitlement to bereavement leave following the death of a teacher’s first cousin.

Other leave, such as EPV days or unpaid leave, may be facilitated for attendance at funeral services.

It depends on what is meant by “uncle-in-law” and “aunt-in-law”.

Bereavement leave is available for one day following the death of your aunt or uncle. An uncle may include the brother of your parent, or the husband of your aunt. (Likewise, an aunt may include the sister of your parent, or the wife of your uncle.)

However, if you are referring to your spouse or partner’s uncle or aunt, there is no bereavement leave available following their death.

Up to ten days of bereavement leave may be taken following the loss of a baby after the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.

This bereavement leave is available to:

  • The father of the child
  • The spouse or partner of the child’s mother
  • The parent of the child under Section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, where the child is a donor-conceived child within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act.

Please note, following the loss of a baby after twenty-four weeks, there is also an entitlement to paid paternity leave and maternity leave.

Yes, all absences on bereavement leave will have substitute cover paid by the DE.
You should notify your employer immediately if you are going to be absent on bereavement leave.

As soon as is reasonably practical, you should also fill in the application form at Appendix C of circular 78/2022, and provide supporting evidence of the bereavement (such as a copy of a death notice, or a screenshot from

If your employer determines that there is no entitlement to bereavement leave under the terms of the circular, or a lesser entitlement than what you have requested, they should provide written notice of their refusal, and the grounds for the refusal, as soon as possible.
It is open to invoke the Grievance Procedure. You should contact Head Office or your CEC Rep for further advice on this matter.

20 days 5 days 1 day 10 days (stillbirth/prenatal death) 0 days
Spouse (including a cohabiting partner)

Child (including adopted child, stepchild and child being cared for ‘in loco parentis’

Any person in a relationship of domestic dependency

Father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, stepbrother, half-brother, brother-in-law, sister, stepsister, half-sister, sister-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, grandchild Aunt, uncle, niece, nephew Father of the child

Spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the child’s mother

Parent of the child under Section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, where the child is a donor-conceived child within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act.

First cousin