Health and Wellness Administration

Death of a Faculty or Staff Member

HRS Response to Death of Faculty/Staff Member

The death of a staff or faculty member has a profound impact on family, friends, and the work and learning environment. Ensuring that family, students, colleagues and co-workers are assisted with kindness and compassion is our priority. Human Resource Services will work with the department/faculty to offer support through the grieving process.

The following information complements the UAPPOL Death of a Staff Member – University Response Procedure. It expands on the responsibilities of Human Resource Services and outlines responses that Faculties and departments can expect to receive.

Once notified by the Dean of the Faculty or Director of the Unit, the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Human Resources), avphr@ualberta.ca will notify others within HRS (i.e. Faculty and Staff Relations, EFAP Administrator, HR Partner, Employment Services, Pensions and Benefits) as appropriate.

Human Resource Services will:

  • Liaise with the Faculty/department to coordinate appropriate resources and support through the Employee and Family Assistance Program provider via the EFAP Administrator,
  • Consult as requested in notifying colleagues and the work group of the faculty/staff member’s passing and liaise HR resources as appropriate via the HR Partner. Find your HR Partner using the Find Your HR Contact tool.
  • Ensure that the passing is noted in PeopleSoft HCM and that outstanding employment income is processed via Employment Services,
  • Contact the beneficiary/executor to process and finalize benefits and pensions and coordinate through the respective carriers for claims processing and benefits coverage via Payroll and Benefit Services.
The following resources provide information to support grieving co-worker(s):

Information on benefits, pension and life insurance can be found on the Death of an Faculty or Staff Member webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Human Resources have a template a department/faculty can use to notify colleagues and co-workers of an individual’s passing?

Each situation is unique and likely the result of various circumstances. Care and sensitivity must be taken in how the information is presented. When the message is communicated, it is critical that information on how individuals can access support services is included. If your faculty or department would like assistance on how to deliver this difficult message, please contact your HR Partner who will work to assist you.

What messaging do we give to notify clients and customers regarding the passing of our colleague?

The best approach is an automatic email response providing an alternate contact. Choose a contact who is comfortable delivering the difficult news to customers when appropriate. Some departments may wish to have an announcement displayed publicly; however, it is essential communication with the community be done in consultation with the family as per the Death of a Staff Member – University Response Procedure.

How do we access email to set an automatic email/phone message response? 

Information Services & Technology (IST) for questions about how to gain access to the individual’s email to set an auto response and phone for an alternate contact message. Their client service team will be able to provide the Director, Department Chair or Dean with information on this. 

How do I ensure people in the department/Faculty are aware of the services they can access for 
support?


Bereavement is an issue that many people many find uncomfortable. It is important people are aware of the individual supports offered through the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program. However, some individuals may find talking about their feelings with others within their Department/ Faculty may help bring closure and assist in finding a way to come to terms with the passing of their colleague or coworker.

How do I distribute the work in the Faculty/Department?

Typically, it would depend on the nature and scope of the individual’s role and absence from work. If the individual was away on short term/ long term disability, temporary arrangements may already be in place. If the death was sudden, it may result in reassignment of temporary duties and may involve considerations such as responsibility pay. Your HR Partner will be able to work with you on these details.

For longer term options, Job and Organizational Design would be able to offer some recommendations.
If the death was a faculty member, as per the Death of a Staff Member – University Response Procedure, the Dean or a designate will make the necessary adjustments. 

Who deals with signing authority?

The Department Chair, Dean or Director should seek guidance from Financial Services to ensure the necessary arrangements are made with respect to changing/updating signing authority.