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