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I live in Hawaii and my grandfather in Czechia had died. I would like to come to the funeral. I can manage to get the plane tickets, but 1) I'll be away for at least 5 days, and 2) I will be coming back home after a year, so I would like to spend there at least 2 weeks, visiting my family and friends.

Do I have any rights to go on holidays because of close relative's funeral in US? How should I negotiate it with my employer?

  • (This is not really my situation, it was a situation of someone I know some time ago.) – yo' Mar 13 '14 at 16:22
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    I cant vote anymore but this is a nice question. +1 – Piotr Kula Mar 13 '14 at 16:44
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    Even though I answered it it may be better suited for workplace.SE. – Karlson Mar 13 '14 at 17:01
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    @StrongBad Usually the other way around. In small companies there is very little or no overhead to cover for work needing to be done. – Karlson Mar 13 '14 at 17:19
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it may be better suited for workplace.SE. – Karlson Mar 13 '14 at 17:20
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As far as I know there is no guideline that requires an employer to provide you bereavement leave either paid or unpaid. In the US Government provides 3 days leave for death of a relative as results of wounds but private employers are not required to abide by this but generally have some sort of policy for such situation, so I would get with the Human Resources Department of the company you work for to work out the details.

Generally speaking such provisions are "Not a Federal Matter", and if you don't trust that site there is a blog by a Cynthia Hsu on Findlaw dealing exactly with that matter.

So if you choose to stay 2 weeks in the Czech Republic for and after the funeral you should make arrangements with your employer to allow this to happen.

P.S. Since it's not a Federal Matter it may be a state matter but since state of Hawaii doesn't have provisions for employers to provide for bereavement leave it becomes a private matter between you and your employer.

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the closest we have to a legal requirement in the US for this, but it doesn't actually offer bereavement leave. There is a bit of a loophole, however, that you can use, with proper notice to your employer, "to address your own serious health condition (e.g. depression)". See here:

A death in the family is not automatic grounds for FMLA coverage. An employee must notify his or her employer that they need leave for an FMLA-covered condition. An employee's request for bereavement leave to make funeral arrangements and wrap up the affairs of his deceased brother failed to put the employer on notice that the employee was requesting FMLA leave. To be covered by the FMLA, the employee needed to tie his request for bereavement leave to address his own serious health condition (e.g., depression), or the needs of a spouse, parent, son, or daughter.

I would be very careful trying to use the FMLA for the death of a grandfather who lives in another continent, however. I expect it would be pretty easy to see through the request for time off to deal with "depression" of a relative whom you likely have not seen (as you said) for years.

So your best bet is simply going to be to talk to your employer, explain the situation, and ask for some time off.

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