An eligible employee shall be entitled to a total of seven days of leave because of the death of a parent, spouse, son, daughter, or person for whom the employee serves as designated representative... If the deceased died in the line of duty as a member of the uniformed services. Such leave is intended to permit the employee to prepare for or attend the burial ceremony of the deceased member of the uniformed services and may be paid or unpaid leave.
Conversely, however, the United States Federal government presently has no laws in place to similarly (or otherwise, in comparable and appropriate ways) formally acknowledge and honor the passing of federal government personnel other than military personnel.
According to U.S. Code Title 5, Part III; Subpart E; Chapter 63; Subchapter II (2005), the federal government does in fact authorize, according to three separate sections of Title 5: (1) Sec. 6321, "Absence of veterans to attend funeral services; (2) Sec. 6326, "Absence in connection with funerals of immediate relatives in the Armed Forces," and (3) Sec. 6328, "Absence in connection with funerals of fellow Federal law enforcement officers." Title 5, therefore, authorizes the use of sick leave to attend a family member's funeral, and within Title 5, various procedures and rights to leave, paid or unpaid, for immediate survivors, are delineated for: (1) funerals of law enforcement officers; (2) funerals of relatives in the Armed forces, and (3) funerals of veterans (2005).
However, no other branches of United States government service are mentioned, in terms of funeral protocols, survivors' rights, or leaves of absence for survivors, anywhere within Title 5 of the U.S. Code. In fact, within the two agencies of U.S. government service whose work is very often, arguably, equally as dangerous as active military service (and in some cases, more so), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), no similar or equivalent funeral benefits or honors are offered in honor of fallen members of those agencies, their spouses or other immediate survivors, as they are for military personnel and their families. The FBI, for example, offers annual leave; sick leave; family medical leave; maternity leave; paternity leave, and family friendly leave, which includes:
up to 40 hours (5 days) of sick leave in a leave year to care for a family member or to arrange or attend an immediate family member's funeral. In addition to the 40 hours of sick leave allowed, an employee may use an additional 64 hours under certain circumstances [emphasis added]. (Benefits, 2005, p. 2).
The CIA's leave policies are very similar to those of the FBI (Sunoo & Solomon, 1996): no specific funeral leave or funeral honors are granted to CIA personnel, or immediate relatives of CIA personnel, killed in the line of duty (p. 8). However, according to one CIA employee, whose 33-year-old husband was presented with a diagnosis of lung cancer and died two months later (p. 8), additional benefits were in fact forthcoming from the agency when she most needed them (but only due to an internal pool of donated annual leave, and the compassion and generosity of her peers):
Thank goodness the agency maintains a pool of annual leave donated by other employees. People who have excess leave time can donate it to the pool. It's so helpful for those involved in catastrophic situations... I never had to take a leave without pay...My office gave me a week off after he died.
Like many employees of many workplaces nationwide then, according to Sunoo & Solomon, 1996; Grief in the workplace (April 2003); to Bereavement in the workplace (2005) and Tyler (2003), CIA employees, like the vast majority of other U.S. government employees (not to mention employees of most other public and private entities) depend, following the death of a loved one, on workplace kindness rather than on a governmental guarantee (like that given, uniquely, to U.S. Armed Services members and their families) of up to seven days of federally-protected funeral and/or bereavement leave time.
In summary, then, the United States federal government currently has no laws equivalent to either Title 38 or to HR 4954 in place to similarly acknowledge the passing of non-military federal personnel, or the effects of their passing upon their loved ones. The federal government currently authorizes only the use of previously-accrued sick leave to attend a family member's funeral. Separate procedures are also spelled out, within Title 5, for leave that may be taken for funerals of law enforcement officers; funerals of relatives in the Armed forces, and funerals of veterans. However, no other branch of government service is covered, in terms of funeral leave protected by law, much less funeral honors for other than military personnel, anywhere within either Title 5 or Title 38.
Literature on Caring Leadership
The second category of available literature examined for the study was literature on caring leadership: both caring leadership in general, and caring leadership as it related to deaths; illnesses, or other serious personal setbacks of employees and/or their loved ones, and the management and support of bereaved employees. That literature included books; articles from academic and other journals, and various materials (e.g., company, government, or other websites; policies and procedures information) from various Internet sources.
In the course of reviewing available literature on caring leadership, the author discovered that none of the private companies researched, including several of those best-known for their overall benevolence toward employees (e.g., Southwest Airlines; General Electric, Pitney Bowes (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2004)) had any Internet-posted or otherwise publicly-available funeral and/or bereavement policies. Therefore, the author was unable to compare the funeral and bereavement leave policies of Southwest Airlines; General Electric, Pitney Bowes (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2004) with those of other public and private entities that did make that information available.
Most available literature on caring leadership focused more caring leadership in general; not all touched specifically on caring leadership during times of employee bereavement, although a great deal of what was said on caring leadership in general could be easily applied to such situations. Among literature reviewed on caring leadership in general, Flexible leadership: Creating value by balancing multiple challenges and choices (Yukl & Lepsinger (2004) focused on key characteristics of caring leadership, including: empathy; caring; good listening skills, and the ability to set high standards while still practicing empathy toward one's peers and employees. That book also challenged "the myth of easy leadership" (p. 10), and the idea that 'one minute' actions or a list of 'leadership secrets' could create caring leadership. The authors argued, instead, that: "...there are few, if any, easy answers. Leadership is difficult and demanding, and leaders need to be flexible because the situation is constantly changing" p. 11).
Being a flexible leader meant acting decisively when necessary, but also acting (and reacting) with flexibility and kindness. The book also offered a model of flexible leadership based on various situational factors and conditions, including: (1) "People-oriented Leadership Behavior"; (2) "Programs and Systems for Adaptation"; (3) "Change-Oriented Leadership Behaviors; and (4) "Program and Systems for Human Relations" (p. 13).
Yukl & Lepsinger (2004), in Flexible leadership: Creating value by balancing multiple challenges and choices, also focused on the importance, to flexible leadership, of supporting and recognizing others, by "giving praise and showing appreciation to others for effective performance, significant achievements, and special contributions" (p. 158). As they also state about supportive leadership:
good measure of supportive leadership is how you react when a colleague or direct report is upset or worried... By listening attentively, and trying to show that you understand what a person is saying and feeling, you communicate strong concern and the desire to be helpful.
Supportive leadership is also relevant when a personal problem is adversely affecting job performance. (p. 157)
Such ideas on recognizing peers and employees as individual human beings; taking an active interest in them, and being supportive and empathetic when they have problems that interfere with work, are all also applicable to the management and support of grieving individuals within the workplace, although, the authors do not specifically address that issue in the book.
Values-Based Leadership (Kuczmarski & Kuczmarski, 1995) focused on the loss of positive values in business and in society in general, due to anomie (feelings of norm-less-ness and space-less-ness that have set into American society in recent decades due to an overemphasis on the self, on personal pleasure, on immediate gratification, and on acquiring material possessions). Such less-than-positive or constructive values, argue the authors, produce cynicism about leadership, and authority in general, leading, within company employees and society in general, to an overall disregard for fair play, and an feeling that everyone, including leaders, are only out for themselves, rather than for their companies or individual employees. As the authors further stated:
We need to undergo a fundamental shift that reestablishes values and beliefs in our personal and professional lives.... A set of values that enables us to once again believe in our jobs, companies, and organizations; to…