Carnegie Mellon University

Loss of a Loved One

When you experience a loss, you suffer effects on your work life as well as your personal life. The university offers support services to help you cope with your loss. In addition, there may be steps you need to take to update your benefits elections.

  • Regular, full-time staff members may take time off with pay for bereavement to arrange and attend a funeral and to see to the affairs of the estate of a deceased member of your immediate family. "Immediate Family" includes a spouse or registered domestic partner, child, parent, brother, sister, grandchild, grandparent, parent-in-law, and sibling-in-law.
  • You may request up to three working days of bereavement. The time off with pay must be taken in full-day increments, and must be used within a month of the date of death.*
  • You should request a bereavement time off with pay as soon as you learn of the death of a member of your immediate family. A staff member on bereavement should return to work on the first regularly scheduled day of work following the end of the time off with pay.
  • Refer to your location's applicable Staff Handbook for the Bereavement Leave Policy.

*In compliance with the California Family Rights Act, all staff members in California are eligible for up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave. Full-time staff members eligible for up to three days of time off with pay for bereavement may receive up to two additional working days of unpaid time off. Staff members requesting to take unpaid bereavement leave should email Leaves Management to have their leave processed in Workday. All time off must be used within three months of the date of death.

  • If your loved one was covered under your benefits elections, you have 30 calendar days to remove them from your benefits elections. The benefit election change due to a qualifying life event is done through Workday. You will be required to provide documentation within 30 calendar days of making the change. See the Change Benefit Elections System Guide [pdf] for instructions. If you need assistance with processing this change, contact HR Employee Services at 412-268-4600 or submit a request for assistance.
  • If you are the spouse or dependent child of an employee who died while actively employed by the university, and you received benefits coverage under that employee, you may be eligible to continue your coverage under COBRA.
  • If your loved one was an eligible full-time faculty or staff member and died while actively employed by the university, they may qualify for the Month After Death Benefit. Their insurance beneficiaries will receive a cash payment equal to one month's pay: one-ninth of an academic year salary or one-twelfth of a twelve-month employee's salary. For eligible CPA members, this equals 168 hours of straight-time pay.
  • The Employee Assistance Program provides CMU employees and their household members with resources to assist with the grieving process. Through the EAP you can get counseling for grief and loss, financial planning assistance and legal counseling.
  • Employees who are enrolled in the Optional Life and AD&D Insurance Plan can access the provider's Estate Resolution Services [pdf]. These services can be used for the employee's estate as well as their spouse or domestic partner's estate.