DEATH AND DISABILITY CHECKLIST
In the event an employee dies or becomes disabled and will not be returning to work, there is a
unique set of problems and needs that has to be addressed in the separation process. Following is
a checklist designed to help ensure that nothing important is forgotten and any trauma associated
with the death or disabling event is minimized.
Have one person only, preferably the person's supervisor or a representative from HR or senior
management, check with the family of the disabled or deceased person to offer condolences and
to see if the family has any immediate needs that the organization can assist with, for example:
access to the organization's Employee Assistance Plan (for death or disability)
assistance with organization-provided insurance (for death or disability)
final paycheck needed immediately (for death only)
Arrange for a suitable flower arrangement or other appropriate expression of condolence.
Organization chose another expression of condolence:
Arrange to communicate the information of the event to all employees. Management must
consider how the announcement will be made in order to ensure that all employees receive
notification in an appropriate and timely manner. If the employee in question is hospitalized,
this would include:
information on whether the person is allowed to receive visitors;
if so, the name of the hospital, room number, and visiting hour policies; and
the information the family would like fellow employees to receive regarding phone
calls, visits, etc. once the employee is at home.
Death and Disability Checklist
If an employee dies, the following information should be communicated to all employees.
Again, management needs to consider how to communicate this information so that employees
are informed in a timely and appropriate manner.
The cause (if appropriate) and date of death.
The time and location of the funeral or memorial service.
Any special requests, for example, sending contributions to a local charity rather
than sending flowers.
Management will need to make decisions regarding the following and communicate the results
of these decisions to employees:
who will be given permission to leave work to attend the funeral; and
will the time be paid or will they have to use unpaid time or vacation hours.
Within a Week or Two
If an employee has been permanently disabled, a representative from Human Resources or senior
management should arrange to meet with the disabled employee if and when possible (due to
physical or mental conditions) to cover the following items. This may require meeting at the
employee's home or hospital. In the event an employee dies, a representative from Human
Resources or senior management should meet with a member of the family to:
arrange for the return of any organization property (family members will probably
need assistance with this).
transfer the employee's personal property (again, it may be easier to have a fellow
employee or supervisor box the person's possessions for delivery to a family
describe the rights of a disabled employee and/or certain family members (in the
event of death or disability) to continue benefits (COBRA), if applicable.
give the final paycheck (if not done earlier).
Death and Disability Checklist
pay for any accrued vacation.
explain the details of transferring 401(k) plans, if applicable.
explain pension benefits rights, if applicable.
explain any applicable accidental death or long term disability insurance.
gather information about pending medical or other insurance claims to ensure they are
ensure the organization has the correct address for W-2 forms.
give credit union address and any information, if applicable.
Within a few weeks after the death or permanent disability of an employee, the organization
should also consider what it can do to help the employees come to closure over the event. In the
case of a permanently disabled employee who will not return to work, the person may be able to
come to a luncheon or good-bye party of some sort in his/her honor. If an employee dies or is
killed, the organization may want to have its own farewell or memorial for that person. In the
event that an employee is killed violently or otherwise dies in such a manner that the death is
very traumatic to employees, the organization may want to bring in a representative from its
Employee Assistance Plan very soon after the death to help employees deal with their feelings of
grief and loss.