Lilian Min
Updated Mar 28, 2015 @ 9:38 am

By now, you’ve probably caught wind of the Zayn Malik saga: Zayn formally left One Direction, utterly wrecking the hearts of fangirls and boys around the world. Whatever your feelings about boy bands as a whole, One Direction is clearly this generation’s Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and Beatles rolled into one perfectly harmonizing five-piece. But now, fans are left to mourn Zayn’s absence (and his perfect eyebrows —will we ever get to see them again?) and some are so heartbroken, so emotionally destroyed, that they’re asking their employers for “compassionate leave.” Compassionate leave (also known as bereavement leave) is (usually) paid time off to mourn deceased or sick family members. Should #TheAbsenceOfMalik really count as “compassionate leave”?

Most employers don’t seem happy people seem to think so. Employment law director, Alan Price told TIME, “If employees feel strongly about the issue then request that they take days off as a holiday, but compassionate leave is what you allow if a close relative dies, unless the employer is unaware of family ties with Zayn Malik then I hardly think that this qualifies.”

Even though it’s been a few days, #ByeZayn, Zayne, #OneDirection and Malik’s name are all still trending worldwide on Twitter. And, as Directioners are one of the most prolific fandoms on social media, they’re getting creative with their online memorials to the now-former member:

Rumors about Zayn’s departure swirled around before One Direction’s official page confirmed the news, with Malik himself stating:

This announcement came at the heels of his decision to leave One Direction’s current tour last week, citing stress. So is it surprising that the pressure of international superstardom got to him and he wants to take a break? Probably not. It’s nothing new for a musician to want to try new things. Zayn Malik even explained, “I feel like I’ve let the fans down but I can’t do this anymore. It is crazy and wild and a bit mad but, at the same time, I’ve never felt more in control in my life.”

We’re happy for you, Malik. And we wish you and the other members of One Direction the best in your new directions. Too soon? Nah.

(Image via.)