Is an employee on layoff entitled to funeral pay?

The plant was slow. Frank Eckert and two other maintenance department employees were told they could come to work Monday and Tuesday, would be on layoff the rest of the week, and could return to work the following Monday.


The plant was slow. Frank Eckert and two other maintenance department employees were told they could come to work Monday and Tuesday, would be on layoff the rest of the week, and could return to work the following Monday.

Eckert got the sad news on Wednesday that his father had died of a heart attack. When he returned to work on Monday, he received the condolences of Maintenance Foreman Arthur Lewis and his coworkers.

When Eckert received his pay check Friday he protested that funeral pay had been omitted.

"You're not entitled to it," Lewis replied. "You were on layoff at the time."

"That's not fair," Eckert persisted. "Funeral leave is a fringe benefit that's listed in the labor agreement. I'm entitled to get it whether on layoff or not."

Lewis disagreed but promised to take the matter up with his boss.

Question: What do you think? Is Eckert entitled to funeral leave or not?

Deutch's verdict: " No funeral pay for Eckert," Plant Engineer Bill Deutch told Lewis.

"This kind of controversy comes up every so often," he added. He took out a copy of the labor agreement and leafed to the appropriate page. "This is a handy clause to have around," he said, and read from the contract: "Death in the immediate family entitles an employee to three days' funeral pay at the regular rate of pay starting the day after the demise. Any day or days of this period falling on a weekend, holiday, vacation, or when the employee is on layoff, shall not be covered by this clause."

Deutch closed the booklet. "I suggest you show this to Eckert to straighten him out on this issue."

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