Who Is Worth Mourning? December 30, 2010Posted by Onely in As If!.
Question: Can you guess what this list is?
4.2.1 Spouse (including Same-sex domestic partner);
4.2.2 Child (including foster or step or any child you have raised as your own);
4.2.3 Parent (including foster, step or any persons who raised the employee);
4.2.4 Brother or sister (including foster, step, or half);
4.2.7 Parent or step-parent of spouse or same-sex domestic partner;
4.2.8 Brother or sister of spouse or same-sex domestic partner (including step or half);
4.2.9 Grandparent of spouse or same-sex domestic partner;
4.2.10 Son or daughter in-law;
4.2.11 Spouse of employee’s brother or sister.
Answer: It’s a list of people whose deaths matter more than others’.
According to my company (and, presumably, most other large employers), if one of the people on the above list dies, I get several days’ paid bereavement leave. If a loved one not on this list dies, I have to take leave without pay.
Shut up, you ignoramuses and cyber-trolls, the money itself isn’t the issue (although I always like money):
The payout reflects a restrictive hierarchy based on matrimonial/coupling status, imposed on diverse employees by the organization (and sanctioned without question by culture and government). It says that the only important relationships are child-parent-sibling–and the spousal connections thereto.
My married colleagues get at least twice as many bereavement leave options as I do. The funds come out of the company coffers, to which I contribute just as much profit, contractually, as my married coworkers. In effect, I am subsidizing my married coworker’s bereavement leave for his spouses’ brother or his spouse’s grandparent, but I do not receive the same privilege for the deaths of people close to me, if they are outside of the matrimonial/coupling complex.
The list presumes that a SPOUSE’S GRANDPARENT is always more bereavement-worthy than a BEST FRIEND or BOYFRIEND a CLOSE COUSIN or AUNT. Are you kidding me? When I read the policy, I was so offended I could have just spit (but I didn’t, because the office floors are carpeted). In the throes of irritation, I wrote an email to my immediate supervisor decrying the discrimination, but she ignored it.
Employers should allow employees to create, ahead of time, a list of people/relationships that they can receive bereavement for. My goal is to find out how my company acquired this policy, and then go to the appropriate benefits folks and make a huge stink, or more realistically, at least plant the idea in people’s heads that shaping policies around marital/coupling status is BASED ON HABIT, NOT LOGIC OR FAIRNESS.
Copious Readers, have you experienced discrimination based on marital status in the wake of a personal loss? What did you do?
P.S. Please consider your comments carefully, as I am in an ALL CAPS mood lately.