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What is considered immediate family for funeral leave?

Updated April 17, 2017

Although losing a loved one, whether they are immediate family or not, is difficult, most employers offer bereavement, or funeral, leave in only very specific cases. This leave typically lasts up to three days.

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Immediate Family

Immediate family can be defined many different ways, but it generally means “a relationship including brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, first cousin, aunt or uncle, spouse, parent, or child of such person, whether such relationship arises by reason of birth, marriage or adoption,” according to many employment policies.

Rules of Fair Practice

The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Rules of Fair Practice define immediate family as “parents, brothers, sisters, children, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and any other relatives who are financially supported.” Although the NASD rules apply to dealing with customers, they can also be a good guideline for bereavement leave.


Some employers consider cohabiters, whether same or opposite gender, to be immediate family.

Non-Immediate Family

Some employers also allow leave for the funerals of non-immediate family.


A spouse is someone who is legally married to you. A first cousin is the son or daughter of your aunt or uncle.

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About the Author

Allyson Ash has worked in journalism for more than 20 years, covering topics from food to health care to entertainment. She has been published in a variety of newspapers, including the "Dallas Morning News," and on various websites.

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