Compliance

California Bereavement Leave Explained

Compliance(AB 1949) amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to entitle eligible employees to take up to five (5) days of bereavement leave upon the death of a covered family member and to make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take such bereavement leave.  AB 1949 takes effect on January 1, 2023.

AB 1949 applies to employers with five or more employees.  Employees are eligible for bereavement leave if they have been employed for at least 30 days before the leave commences.  Bereavement leave may be taken for the death of a family member, which means a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.  AB 1949 requires that the bereavement leave be completed within three (3) months of the date of death, and specifies that the bereavement leave need not be taken consecutively.

Employers with existing bereavement leave policies that provide employees less than five (5) days of paid bereavement leave, must continue to give employees the number of paid days employees are entitled to under the bereavement leave policies.  The remainder of the five (5) days of bereavement leave may be unpaid, but employers must allow employees to use any paid vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.

Employers with existing bereavement leave policies that provide employees less than five (5) days of unpaid bereavement leave must give employees five (5) days of unpaid bereavement leave and allow employees to use any paid vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.

Employers that have no existing bereavement leave policies must give employees five (5) days of unpaid bereavement leave and allow employees to use any paid vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.

Employers may require employees to provide documentation of the death of a family member within 30 days of the first day of the 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.

AB 1949 obligates employers to maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting bereavement, as well as the documentation the employee provides, except to internal personnel or legal counsel, as necessary, or as required by law.

Click Here for more information about AB 1949.

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*Southland Data Processing, Inc. (“SDP”) is not a law firm. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other SDP materials does not create an attorney-client relationship. SDP is not responsible for any inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

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