Mandated Bereavement Leave Takes Effect Jan. 1, 2023

calendar November 3, 2022

On Sept. 29, 2022, AB-1949 was signed into law, amending the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to provide eligible employees with up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member. The CFRA applies to employers in the state with five or more employees, and the new bereavement leave provisions take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

definition icon 400x400Important Definitions

Family Member

The legislation defines a family member as a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or parent-in-law.

Eligible Employees

 “Employees” are those employed by the employer for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave. The legislation does not apply to employees covered by valid collective bargaining agreements that provide for prescribed bereavement leave and other specified working conditions. 

Key Highlights

The legislation would require bereavement leave to be taken as follows:

  • Leave must be completed within three months of the date of death;
  • Leave must be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy (so long as the employee is entitled to no less than a total of five days of bereavement leave);
  • The bereavement leave may be unpaid in the absence of an existing policy, but employees are authorized to use other leave balances otherwise available, including accrued and available paid sick leave; and
  • The days of bereavement leave do not need to be consecutive.

Bereavement leave may be unpaid, but employees may use other leave balances that are otherwise available. Employer policy can also provide for paid leave.

Documentation

 If requested by a covered employer, employees must provide documentation of the death of the family member within 30 days of the first day of leave. Documentation includes but is not limited to a death certificate, a published obituary, or written verification of death, burial or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution or governmental agency.

Covered employers are required to maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting bereavement leave, and any documentation provided must be maintained as confidential.

 

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This Legal Update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.
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