How To Tell Your Boss Someone Passed Away – 9 Tips & 3 Ways

Written By Aleena

Losing someone close is hard. You might need time off work to grieve, but don’t worry about your job.

Here’s how to tell your boss and take some time for yourself.

Key Takeaways

  • Let them know someone in your family died so they can adjust your schedule and understand if your work slows down.
  • If possible, in person, have a quiet chat with your boss, and avoid busy times.
  • Bosses react differently. Be prepared for your boss to be sad, frustrated, or something else.
  • It’s important to grieve with family and take time off work if needed.
  • If you’re upset, wait to talk to your boss until you’re calmer.
  • Approach your boss in a way that’s comfortable for your workplace.
  • Tell your boss if you need to work from home or reduce your workload for a while.
  • Don’t stay off work too long. Return when you feel able, even if grieving is hard.
  • Just let your boss know someone died; you don’t need to share all the details.

How To Tell Your Boss Someone Passed Away – 9 Tips

Here are a few tips on breaking the news that a loved one dies without letting it affect your work life.

1. Tell Your Boss As Soon As Possible:

If someone you care about dies, you should tell your boss right away. This will help them make arrangements for your absence.

It also lets them know why you might not be able to finish some work.

Let your work friends know, too, as soon as you can.

2. Pick The Right Time To Tell:

Telling someone about a death is tough, but don’t do it in a rush, like when you’re leaving work.

take care of yourself

Find a quiet place to talk where you can both be sad and show you care.

It’s best to talk in person, not by email or phone. Try to find a time that won’t bother other people around you.

3. Get Ready For A Range Of Emotions:

Bosses can be nice or mad that you’re not meeting deadlines. Some might not understand your feelings.

It’s okay to feel however you feel right now. Losing someone is hard and can make you feel all over the place.

Your boss might be sorry for your loss, but they might not know how to help.

4. Before How To Tell Your Boss Someone Passed Away- Take Care Of Yourself:

Take a break after someone you love dies. It’s okay to feel sad and spend time with those close to you.

Taking care of yourself is important. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so be kind to yourself.

5. Listen To Your Instinct:

If you feel panicky, step back before talking to your Boss and collect your thoughts.

It’s always better to take a moment and think this through before acting.

6. Consider The Culture Of Your Workplace:

Each work culture is different, and bosses like to be talked to differently depending on the job.

talk to boss

Some places are stricter, but you can always be nice and calm when you talk to your boss, and that’s okay.

7. Let Your Boss Know What You Need:

Talk to your boss about work. They might be able to help during this difficult time.

You could ask about working from home or taking time off daily.

8. How To Tell Your Boss Someone Passed Away- Don’t Take Much Time Off:

While taking time off for a loss is important, don’t feel pressured to stay away too long. Come back to work whenever you feel up to it.

Once you’ve had some time to grieve, getting back into your routine can be helpful. This can include returning to the office to handle your work efficiently.

9. Do Not Go Into Details At Work:

You might want to talk to your boss about your feelings, but keep it work-related. Don’t worry about bringing everyone else into it.

They can’t help with what happened, which might make things awkward.

How To Tell Your Boss Someone Passed Away- 3 Ways To Do

There are some ways to contact your Boss and tell him about the unexpected incident.

1. Face-To-Face Conversation With The Boss:

It is the best way to communicate with your Boss, as it will help you express your emotions. Your Boss will be able to understand better.

Here is an example of what you might talk about:

Hi Sir, I have unexpected news to share with you. My nana died this morning; she had a heart attack at home.

She was my only living relative, and I just wanted to let you know that I will not be in the office for a few days.

But in my absence, David will handle my tasks, and my team will be there to manage it all. I won’t take a vast number of leaves, but I need to take some time off.

 I am going out of town for the funeral. Thus if I have to stay there much longer, I request you to remote work.

If the Boss is unavailable, try to find his PA or someone authorized to talk on behalf of the Boss and deliver the news.

2. How To Tell Your Boss Someone Passed Away In A Letter:

If your boss is busy, you can write a quick note to say thanks! Explain what’s going on and that you might need some time off for personal stuff.

In the note, you can also ask:

  • Is there anything I can do to help before I leave?
  • Can the office offer any support while I’m gone?
ask for advice

Here is an example of a similar letter:

Dear Sir,

This message might come as a shock to you, but, unfortunately, my nana passed away early morning today.

She had recently suffered a heart attack, we did everything to save her.

But unfortunately, she didn’t survive, and I just wanted to let you know that I will not be in the office for a few days.

I would appreciate it if David could handle my tasks, and my team would be there to manage it all.

I won’t take a vast number of leaves, but I need to take some time off.

It is something very sudden and unexpected. In this challenging moment in our family, we don’t even know what we should do next.

My mother is in a state of shock and can’t think straight yet. I can work from home or remotely if needed.

3. Have A Phone Call With Your Boss:

It is an informal way to tell your Boss, and it might be less personal.

A phone call is less personal than a face-to-face conversation. But it can be more efficient if the Boss cannot meet in person.

In this conversation, you would want to express your emotions and ask for some time off.

You can also inquire about any support your Boss can give you during this difficult time.

Here is an example of what you might say:

Hi Boss,

I hope all is good with you. I am sorry to inform you this way, but my nana passed away early morning today.

She had a heart attack, and we did everything we could to save her, but she didn’t survive.

I am not in the office today, and I will not be back till the funeral is over.

As my mother is in a state of shock, she cannot think yet. If you need anything from me, please let me know.

Thank you for understanding this situation.

I won’t take too much time off, but I do need a few days away from work as it is complicated for me right now.

What You Might Not Want To Say

You can mention that you are going out of town for the funeral. You can also share the circumstances surrounding your close one’s death.

how to tell your boss someone passed away

But avoid giving too many details about the actual incident that led to her passing away. Your Boss is, after all, your Boss. Do not share everything personally with him.


Here are some things you should do:

– Express your emotions

– Ask for some time off, or lessen your responsibilities for some time

– Inquire about any support your Boss can give you during this difficult time

– You can ask him to attend the funeral if he lives nearby.


Here are things you shouldn’t do:

– Share too many personal details about the death

– Take too much time off from work

– Get back to work and not perform well


Someone close to you died. That’s hard. Don’t worry about work for a while.

Tell your boss you’re sad and need time off. You can ask if they have ways to help during this time.

But keep it short and sweet, your boss isn’t your friend. Just say thanks for being okay with it.

Take all the time you need to feel better. Grieving is important, and work can wait.

Last Updated on 1 week by Usama Ali


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