Employer Awards


Over the past 37 years The Compassionate Friends Victoria, has had much anecdotal evidence from bereaved parents and siblings, of their experiences of how they were treated by their employer after the death of their loved one. Some stories have clearly demonstrated that there are employers willing to provide high levels of compassion, care, empathy and generosity to their employees, while others are only offered the standard bereavement leave entitlements. In some cases this has resulted in voluntary or forced resignation.

In a report published in the US in 2003, “The Hidden Annual Costs of Grief in America’s Workplace, highlighted that as a result of an employee experiencing grief following the death of a loved one costs to American business is estimated at $37.5 billion a year. The manifestations of grief, which included periods of confusion, reduction in focus, concentration and lack of desire to perform at work, were cited.

Improved outcomes for both bereaved people and workplaces of supportive work policies and practices were the impetus to commence the awards.

A program to recognise employers following the death of a child/sibling was established in the US by The Compassionate Friends USA, in 2000 and has provided positive impact for both the employer and employee. In 2004, TCF Victoria embarked on establishing a similar Awards program and has successfully run this program annually for the past 12 years.


The initiative aims to demonstrate best workplace practices in dealing with bereavement, to encourage the adoption of these practices in other workplaces and educate business and community about the impacts of the death of a loved one.

The initiative is a tool for a “positive” media reporting of workplace bereavement practices.

The initiative enables bereaved people to have a positive impact on encouraging other employers to be more sensitive to the needs of employees following the death of a loved one.

Awards Program:

Since the inception of the Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards in 2004, 173 Victorian organisations have been recognised for their outstanding support to their employee following the death of a loved one. The annual recognition program, conducted by The Compassionate Friends Victoria Inc., providing Mutual Support Self Help services to bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents, was initiated to acknowledge and highlight organisations that were going above and beyond standard workplace bereavement practices.

In recognising organisations supportive practices towards bereaved employees, the Awards program brings greater community awareness to grief and loss and the impact on employment and work. The Awards inspire and encourage organisations and workplaces to review their current practices, and provide best practice and practical examples of effective ways of incorporating bereavement support into the workplace.

This initiative is stimulating broad interest and discussion in the community and business on the issue of bereavement in the workplace, and the need for policies that ensure both care of the bereaved person and better outcomes for businesses.

Employer Recipients have acknowledged the impact of the receiving an Award

“It was certainly a different morning from those I normally experience on any given work day! I was very impressed with the organisation and professionalism of the event.”

“As I said in my acceptance speech (as did many others) it was a very humbling experience for our organisation to have been nominated and selected for this award. It has been the subject of much conversation from top to bottom of our organisation. Employer & Recipient.”

Examples of Employer Supportive Practices:

  • Arranging slow return to normal duties
  • 5 weeks full paid bereavement leave
  • Paying for me to attend a weekly two hour x 10 week session called “Support After Suicide”
  • Arranging counselling for my other son
  • Postponing my appraisal and understanding in my performance
  • My employer said he understood that it would take time for me to work at my previous pace

We hope more employers are recognised for being aware of their employees special needs, compassion in the workplace and this will become standard practice.  Dr. Rhonda Galbally, AO Patron of TCF.

The Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards in 2015 are being partnered by Rotary Club of Geelong Central and Principal Sponsor Stafford Group, Associated Sponsor Optimum Recruitment and Leonda by the Yarra, Key Sponsor Eastern Press and Flowers of Canterbury and Sponsors Hollografix.

To nominate your employer please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Please read the criteria below.

Step 2: Write your personal story in 400 words or less describing ways in which your company met the specific criteria.

Criteria for Compassionate Employer Recognition might include:

  • Employer who has personally supported you in your bereavement
  • Employer who arranged for additional time off, beyond the familiar three days bereavement leave
  • Employer who provided support services and/or time off eg to obtain counselling or seek a support group
  • A caring attitude and ability to empathise demonstrated by employer’s entire workforce
  • Employer who showed flexibility in work assignments and evaluation of job performance during the stress and personal pain associated with the death of a loved one
  • Other acts of compassion that you will remember forever

These criteria serve as suggested guidelines, and are not considered as all-inclusive. Nominations are only accepted for acts of compassion by employers within Australia, and do not include companies, organisations or government agencies specifically created to help the bereaved.

How To Submit Your Nomination

Your Nomination Form can be filled in Online and submitted to The Compassionate Friends.
Follow this link and complete the form online.


The form can be downloaded, filled in and mailed to The Compassionate Friends.
Follow this link to download and print a Nomination Form Download Nomination Form

Send in your printed Nomination form to:

“Compassionate Employer Recognition Program Australia”
The Compassionate Friends Vic Inc.
Bereaved Parent & Sibling Information Centre
PO Box 171

For further information contact:
Jenny Galati