Working at NYL

New York Life to pilot a workplace bereavement initiative. 

New York Life | December 28, 2022

employee grieving

Beyond time off, the company will provide grieving employees with support and resources.

New York Life is bolstering the ways in which it supports employees who have suffered the loss of a loved one. In addition to a recently expanded bereavement leave policy, the New York Life Foundation is developing a workplace bereavement initiative that will provide ready resources and training to aid grieving employees and educate managers and colleagues on being grief-sensitive.

Why it matters

The latest research from the Grief Research Institute says that workers in the U.S. are grieving the deaths of nearly 2.5 million loved ones each year. The effects of that grief reverberate throughout the workplace; beyond the raw emotional pain of a loss, grief costs U.S. companies an estimated $75 billion in lost productivity each year.

“Though returning to work after a death will always be challenging, there are actions that companies, managers, and colleagues can take to help make the transition back to work after a bereavement leave more compassionate and supportive.” -- Maria Collins, Vice President, New York Life Foundation

Video modules

Initially, as part of this initiative, four video modules will be developed, with a website and modules to launch over time, that explore the four domains of workplace bereavement support:

  • Grief awareness and sensitivity
  • Workplace transitions and challenges
  • Caring words and actions
  • Flexible policies and sustained compassion

Ready resources

Also available, for when a grieving colleague or their employee needs information quickly, will be brief and easily digestible handouts covering topics like:

  • What to Do When You Are Notified that Someone on Your Team Has Experienced a Loss
  • Healthy Self-Care Practices When You Are Grieving
  • Considerations for Different Causes of Deaths and Loss Relationships
  • What to Do and Say / What Not to Do and Say
  • Support at Various Lengths of Time from the Death though a first 13-months series (i.e., How to Help in the First Few Days, Six Months Later, One Year Later, and beyond one year)

To raise awareness and ensure the adoption of these materials, the New York Life Foundation has collaborated with Human Resources to automate delivery of available resources when the employee records their bereavement leave in the company’s time management system.

Sharing the love

The workplace bereavement initiative will be piloted internally at New York Life through 2023 and will be offered at no cost to companies across the country in 2024.

Did you know?

In 2018, the New York Life Foundation launched the Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative® to better equip educators and other school personnel to support grieving students. More than 4,000 schools across the country participate in the initiative.


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Media contact

Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937